World Bulletin / News Desk
Addressing local officials (mukhtars) at the presidential complex in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “It is my greatest wish that this process will be completed successfully and the sufferings of our Syrian brothers will end soon.”
A nationwide cease-fire in Syria took effect late last week, after a deal was brokered with Turkey, Russia, and the Syrian regime.
Under the cease-fire, warring parties pledged to stop armed attacks, from land or air, and not to expand territories against each other. extremist groups were excluded.
Erdogan said that Turkey's ongoing operation to wrest control of the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab from ISIL is being reworked but gave no details.
“We are determined to clear out other regions where extremist organizations have settled, particularly Manbij” in northern Syria, he added.
Launched on Aug. 24, Operation Euphrates Shield aims to clear northern Syria of extremist organizations, including ISIL, and to ensure the security of Turkey’s southern border.
In his remarks, Erdogan also firmly denied allegations of Turkey backing the ISIL extremist organization.
“Accusing the country, which has conducted the most effective fight against ISIL, of helping ISIL is kind of rhetoric that is used by those who attack Turkey through extremist organizations,” he said.
Touching on recent extreme attacks in Turkey, Erdogan said the country is in the midst of a new struggle “for independence.”
“If we win this struggle, we will reach our 2023 [centennial] goals; we will shape our vision of 2053 and 2071.”
The last deadly extreme attack occurred early Sunday at an Istanbul nightclub, claiming 39 lives and injuring more than 60 others.