Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Friday that Operation Euphrates Shield was an obligatory operation for Turkey to protect its borders.
With the success of the al-Bab operation, ]Euphrates Shield Operation will reach its goal, Kurtulmus said in an interview with Turkish TV channel HaberTurk.
“Raqqa is another issue. Raqqa is not something that threatens Turkey’s borders,
“If you say, ‘Let’s clean Daesh but place there PYD/YPG,’ in Raqqa, this becomes a national security issue for Turkey,” he said.
The Syrian city of Raqqa is the self-proclaimed capital of the terror group Daesh.
Turkey views the YPG as the Syrian-offshoot of the PKK, which the U.S. and Turkey designate as a terror group. The U.S. has not labeled the YPG as such.
Washington’s reliance on the YPG has long irked Ankara and has been a major strain on relations between the NATO allies.
Operation Euphrates Shield, which involves Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish forces, was launched in August to secure Turkey’s border with Syria against terrorists and to support opposition forces.
Since November, the operation has focused on taking Al-Bab, located 19 miles 30 kilometers) south of the Turkish border.
Three Turkish soldiers were accidentally martyred Thursday by a Russian jet during airstrikes against Daesh in northern Syria’s Al-Bab region.
The bombing of a building used by Turkish troops involved in the assault on the Daesh-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria left 11 other soldiers injured.