Capturing Raqqa, eliminating Daesh are final goals of Euphrates Shield, Erdoğan says

Ankara has reiterated its position on clearing Daesh and the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) from northern Syria, ultimately establishing a 5,000-square-kilometer, terror-free zone that will be used for the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

Speaking to reporters before an official three-day visit to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the ultimate aim of Operation Euphrates Shield is to clear terrorists from the town of al-Bab in northern Syria before moving on to Raqqa and Manbij.

“The Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] along with the Free Syrian Army [FSA] have besieged al-Bab and developments are moving forward as planned. Daesh is in the process of leaving al-Bab since our forces entered the city center. The fall of al-Bab is merely a matter of time. We are trying to eliminate terror from the region. That aim is about to be completed in al-Bab before we move on to Raqqa and Manbij after this. Our ultimate goal is to clear Daesh from the region. As of now, Daesh’s actual center is Raqqa,” Erdoğan said.

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