World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking at a press conference at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin stated that Operation Euphrates Shield continues determinedly as planned.
"It is very important to act very carefully in [the northwestern city of] al-Bab especially due to the large ISIL extremist organization [munitions] stock there," he said.
"So far, about 1,800 square kilometers (694 square miles), from Jarabulus to Azaz, and south to Azaz, and up to the al-Bab region has been completely cleared of extremists," Kalin added.
Operation Euphrates Shield began on Aug. 24 to rid Syria's northern border area of extremists.
Kalin also called the situation in Aleppo worrisome.
"The [Syrian] regime continues to commit crimes against humanity and war crimes openly in Aleppo. Thus, the regime is not open to any cease-fire, any formula, as we saw in the today's statements of the person at the head of the regime. Actually, this revealed openly the regime's main intention in Aleppo and other regions," he said.
Kalin also said that talks with Iraqi authorities about the camp at Bashiqa are ongoing.
"Our camp continues to help and support Iraqis within the fight against ISIL. There is an exchange of paper to bring its statute to a legal framework, and negotiations continue," he said.
Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at Camp Bashiqa, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.
In recent months, the mission’s presence in northern Iraq has led to tension between Baghdad and Ankara amid calls by some Iraqi lawmakers for Turkish troops to withdraw.
Kalin added that the Syrian regime is responsible for the Nov. 24 attack on Turkish soldiers near al-Bab.
"This revealed openly the regime's intention in Syria, Aleppo, al-Bab, and all other regions once again," he added.
On Nov. 24, three Turkish soldiers were martyred and 10 wounded in an air attack near Al-Bab. On Wednesday morning ISIL martyred another Turkish soldier and wounded six others in a car bomb attack in the same city.