MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Turkish forces have entered the center of the northern Syrian town of al-Bab and the Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh, banned in Russia) jihadists started to flee the town.
"Our forces together with Free Syrian Army have entered al-Bab… Now Daesh militants are leaving al-Bab," Erdogan told reporters as quoted by the Haberturk newspaper.
Erdogan also stated that the ultimate goal of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria is to free the region, including Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Daesh, from terrorists.
"After al-Bab we will not stop. Al Bab was not our final goal. Our ultimate goal is to clear this region from Daesh. The main stronghold of Daesh is Raqqa. After clearing Raqqa, the region will be genuinely cleared from terrorists," Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkish Haberturk newspaper.
The Syrian army killed over 650 terrorists and terrorists' hardware in their operation to free the town of Tadif near al-Bab.
Currently, the Syrian army is approaching al-Bab controlled by Daesh from the west and south, while the Turkish-led forces are attempting to advance into and liberate the town from the north and the east.
The Turkish military operation in Syria's al-Bab has entered the final stage. Turkey's units entered central al-Bab, the operation is being conducted in coordination with Russia to prevent clashes with Syrian government forces.
Al-Bab is one of Daesh’s last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border. Capturing the city is of strategic importance to Turkey in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds taking it and unifying their own territories.