Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reports that in addition to the Turkish reinforcements, an estimated 1,400 fighters that had been evacuated from Aleppo are expected to join the fight for al-Bab. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria in August, ostensibly to clear the region from terrorists and turn it into a refugee safety zone.
Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, retired Turkish army commando and security analyst Abdullah Agar said that the recent deployment is an indication that the Turkish military now bears the brunt of anti-Daesh operations in the region.
According to Agar, notwithstanding the battlefield role of FSA fighters in the operation, "at critical moments, FSA fighters are not being used, because it could result in the failure of the entire operation." This is the case, he said, "due to the peculiar, uncoordinated structure of the FSA's forces. Therefore, the main burden in the fight against Daesh in El-Bab is borne by Turkish army units."
Ultimately, Agar said, "Turkey is on the front lines of a multi-front, multi-state war, the epicenter of which is now located in al-Bab. Daesh fighters, considering this, are bringing in reinforcements from Mosul and Raqqa."
Turkish operations in northern Syria began in late August, and are supported by US-led Anti-Daesh coalition aircraft. The operation has been widely criticized both by Syrian Kurds and by the Syrian government, the latter accusing Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.