Does Assad need to remain in power to prevent jihadists from taking over?
The Syrian army statement said “the new aggressive stance by Erdogan’s regime is a dangerous escalation and flagrant violation” of Syria’s sovereignty. It added that Erdogan’s government has been playing a “dirty role in harboring, training, arming and funding terrorist groups and opening its borders to facilitate the crossing of thousands of terrorists and mercenaries into Syria’s territories.”
Erdogan said Ankara will be expanding its operations in north Syria, including entering areas such as al-Bab, and Raqqa that are held by ISIS and the town of Manbij that is under the control of the SDF.
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After Jarablus, Turkish army entering Syria’s Aleppo
ALEPPO – After capturing the Syrian border city of Jarablus, Turkish army forces continued their advance and entered Aleppo province, military sources reported on Sunday.
“At least 20 Turkish tanks and five armoured vehicles, accompanied by a large number of Turkish troops, have arrived in the northern countryside of Aleppo province,” spokesman for the Shamiya Front rebel group Saleh al-Zein told ARA News.
Also, hundreds of rebels from the Turkey-backed Sultan Murad Brigade and other Turkmen rebel factions accompanied the Turkish army in the advance towards Aleppo.
“The Turkish forces and allies have taken over al-Rae town north of Aleppo, turning the town into a military zone after claiming to have expelled ISIS militants from the area,” rebel spokesman al-Zein told ARA News.
“However, there has been no fight between the Turkish forces and ISIS in al-Rae, which shows that ISIS has actually handed the town over to Turkey,” he added.
This comes just one day after the Turkish government sent military reinforcements to the Syrian northern city of Jarablus, that’s been taken by the Turkish forces and allied rebels of the Euphrates Shield Brigades on August 24 without resistance from ISIS.
Subsequent to the Turkish advance in Jarablus, clashes erupted between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the pro-Turkey factions.
The SDF forces –that have recently liberated the city of Manbij from ISIS after nearly three months of clashes– said that ISIS has handed over Jarabulus to Turkey “within hours and without any resistance”.
Turkey has also vowed to continue fighting Kurdish rebels both on its soil and in Syria, considering them a threat to the territorial integrity of both countries.
“We will continue our operations (in Syria) until we fully guarantee security of life and property for our citizens and the security of our border… From the beginning we have been defending Turkey’s territorial integrity. We are also defending Syria’s territorial integrity. The aim of these terrorist organisations is… to form a state in these countries… They will never succeed,”
Reporting by: Helin Saeed Source