Turkey’s top general and his U.S. counterpart Friday agreed to fight against terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq, especially the PKK and ISIL.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar met with Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Incirlik Airbase near the southern Turkish city of Adana, said a General Staff statement.
Akar shared details of the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August, saying the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army has completely surrounded the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab to wipe out ISIL militants, said the statement.
He added that U.S.-led coalition forces’ support for Euphrates Shield and Turkey’s fight against ISIL are “extremely” important, the statement added.
Turkey has taken steps to crack down on ISIL since 2014 when the terror group launched a series of suicide bombings in Turkey. Led by FSA fighters, Operation Euphrates Shield aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.
Defense Minister Fikri Isik Thursday confirmed that Turkish soldiers and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels had completely surrounded Al-Bab.
“A serious cleaning operation is being done inside [the city]. There is a very intense operation to clear Al-Bab’s city center of ISIL elements. The Free Syrian Army [FSA] and the Turkish Armed Forces have been conducting [operations] together,” Isik said.
Ankara has repeatedly called for a joint operation rather than using the PKK/PYD terror group to sweep ISIL from the city.
Though the Obama administration opposed the plan, new U.S. President Donald Trump has been considering sending ground troops to Syria with the support of the Turkish military.