14:57 GMT16 January 2021
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    Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, said that Ankara does not conduct an operation against Assad in Syria, but Turkey and the United States have a common position on the necessity for Assad to resign.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — The Turkish Army Force's military operation in northern Syria is not directed against the government of Bashar Assad, Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday.

    On Friday, Turkey launched a two-front military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIL) militant group in Syria and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The campaign involved airstrikes by F-16 fighter jets and shelling from the Turkish territory, according to media reports.

    "We do not conduct an operation against Assad at the moment. There should be a political solution, we and the United States have a common position on the necessity for Assad to resign,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

    He added that Russia, which he said is actively trying to find a political solution to the Syrian problem, should not be excluded from future reconciliation processes in the country.

    The military campaign against ISIL and PKK positions comes after a surge in violence in Turkey, namely a suicide bombing in the Turkish border town of Suruc that killed 32 people, most of them Kurds, and injured over 100, and the murders of two police officers in the southern city of Ceylanpinar.

    The Suruc suicide bomber was reportedly affiliated to ISIL. PKK claimed responsibility for the Ceylanpinar killings, saying the policemen had backed IS.

    Turkey, part of the 60-nation anti-IS coalition led by the US, shares a 550-mile southern border with Syria, where ISIL has seized large areas over the past three years.


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