Turkish defense minister: Syrian war in a 'new phase'

Fikri Isik says Syrian conflict is changing after opposition forces retook symbolically important town of Dabiq from ISIL

Turkish defense minister: Syrian war in a 'new phase'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey’s defense minister said Tuesday the country’s military operation in war-torn Syria had shifted to another phase after opposition forces recently took Dabiq town from ISIL.

Fikri Isik’s remarks, made through an anonymous source, were delivered in the Italian capital Rome during a South-Eastern Europe Defence Ministerial meeting, according to a source close to the ministry.

The meeting itself was closed to the media.

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield late August to rid northern Syria of ISIL.

“We do not want the existence of any extrem group in our border regions,” Isik said, according to a source close to the minister.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday the victory of the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army in Dabiq -- a town of symbolic importance for the ISIL extrem group -- would lead to an assault on the city of al-Bab, around 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Aleppo. 

Elsewhere, a broad military campaign by the Iraqi army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces aimed at retaking northern Iraq’s ISIL-held city of Mosul entered its second day on Tuesday.

In mid-2014, ISIL captured Mosul -- Iraq’s second-largest city -- before overrunning large swathes of territory in the country’s northern and western regions. 

The Turkish defense minister also warned partner countries on Tuesday about initiatives linked to the Fetullah extremist Organization or FETO, which is accused of being behind Turkey’s defeated July 15 coup attempt that martyred 241 people and wounded 2,200 others.

“Fetullah Gulen is behind the [July 15] coup attempt,” Isik said.

Led by Gulen, FETO is accused of organizing the defeated coup as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.


Last Mod: 19 Ekim 2016, 11:56
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