ANKARA — Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria will target the town of Manbij, recently liberated from ISIS by Kurdish-led forces, and the terrorists’ stronghold of Raqqa, President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish warplanes, tanks and artillery, launched an operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield” in August to push ISIS and Kurdish militia forces away from the border area of northern Syria.
In a speech in Ankara broadcast live, Erdogan said he had informed President Obama about his plans for the operation in a telephone call. Before Manbij and Raqqa, the operation will target the town of al-Bab, he said.
Defense Minister Fikri Isik told state broadcaster TRTthat Turkey had asked the United States not to allow the Kurdish YPG to enter Raqqa, saying it was ready to provide the necessary military support to take over the town.
A military commander for forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had warned that advances by Turkish-backed rebels into government controlled-areas would be met by force.
, Ankara said a Syrian aircraft dropped barrel bombs on the position of fighters it backs near the border town of Dabiq.