Turkish-backed rebels to seize Syrian city of al Bab from ISIS quickly to set stage for Raqqa assault: Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish-backed rebels are expected to take the northern Syrian city of al Bab from ISIS.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish-backed rebels are expected to take the northern Syrian city of al Bab from ISIS.PHOTO: REUTERS

ANKARA (REUTERS) - Turkish-backed rebels are just 2km from the northern Syrian city of al Bab and are expected to take it from Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) quickly despite some resistance, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday (Nov 16).

The rebels said on Tuesday (Nov 15) they had taken Qabasin, several km north-east of al Bab, to set the stage for an onslaught on Raqqa, the last urban stronghold of ISIS in the northern Aleppo countryside. Kurdish-dominated militias have also been pursuing a drive to seize al Bab.

At a news conference before departing on a trip to Pakistan, Mr Erdogan also accused Germany of not being fully committed to the fight against terrorism and of supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

He also said that an executive presidential system in Turkey, which he has long sought, should not mean the president cutting ties to his political party, saying that would constitute a weakness in the system.