“Now, ‘do not go to Al-Bab’ they say. We have to; we will go. Why? Because we need to prepare a terror-free zone there,” Erdogan said, referring to Turkey’s ongoing military operation called Euphrates Shield.
This operation -- launched in August -- has seen Free Syrian Army fighters backed by the Turkish military rid large parts of north Syria of Daesh. Al-Bab is a Daesh-held northern Syrian city.
The Turkish president’s comments came during an inauguration ceremony for an education facility in the northwestern province of Bursa.
“If the coalition forces are ready to move together, we will do what is necessary against Daesh in Raqqa too. But not together with the PYD or YPG.”
Erdogan said Turkey would “not take terror organizations along with us”.
The PKK and its Syrian offshoot the PYD are both listed as terrorist groups by Turkey although the U.S. and EU only view the PKK as a terrorist organization.
On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met Turkish leaders, reaffirmed the countries’ alliance and congratulated Turkey on successes against Daesh in Syria.
Carter thanked Erdogan for “Turkey's resolve in the fight against terrorism and Turkey’s critical support for the counter-ISIL campaign in Syria and Iraq,” the Pentagon said in a statement which used an alternative acronym for Daesh.