Turkey and Russia’s ongoing efforts to establish a permanent cease-fire and political solution in Syria have led to some promising developments, Turkey’s president said Wednesday.
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. Terrorist groups were excluded.
Erdogan said that Turkey's ongoing operation to wrest control of the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab from Daesh is being reworked but gave no details.
“We are determined to clear out other regions where terrorist organizations have settled, particularly Manbij” in northern Syria, he added.
Launched on Aug. 24, Operation Euphrates Shield aims to clear northern Syria of terrorist organizations, including Daesh, and to ensure the security of Turkey’s southern border.
In his remarks, Erdogan also firmly denied allegations of Turkey backing the Daesh terrorist organization.
“Accusing the country, which has conducted the most effective fight against Daesh, of helping Daesh is kind of rhetoric that is used by those who attack Turkey through terrorist organizations,” he said.
Touching on recent terror 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 terror attack occurred early Sunday at an Istanbul nightclub, claiming 39 lives and injuring more than 60 others.