Turkey’s President Erdogan said in a speech during his visit to Bahrain that a Turkish plan to create no-fly zones would cover an area of at least 4,000-5,000 square kilometers.
Erdogan also said Turkey will continue to play an active role in global anti-terrorism operations, adding that Ankara regards removing ISIL from al-Bab and Raqqa a national security priority, TRT reported.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered remarks at the International Peace Institute in Bahrain on the necessity of a safe zone in Syria to solve the humanitarian crisis resulting from the country’s six-year civil war.
Erdogan, who arrived in Bahrain on Sunday as part of his Persian Gulf region official tour, said the planned safe zone would cover an area of at least 4,000-5,000 square kilometers and would also serve as a no-fly zone.
“We aim to turn 4,000 to 5,000 square kilometers inside Syria into a terror-free safe zone,” he said, adding that Arab and Turkmen civilians will be placed in the planned area.
After cleansing the Northern Syrian town of Al-Bab from ISIL, Turkey will extend its military operations to the town Manbij and the city of Raqqa, Erdogan added.
Turkey believes recent ISIL terror attacks in Turkey, including a shooting in an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day, were coordinated from Al-Bab and Raqqa, both ISIL strongholds in Syria.
Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said last week that Turkey presented a detailed plan to oust ISIL from Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital.
In his speech in Manama, Erdogan also condemned Israel’s new settlements in the West Bank as an “absolute provocation.”
Israel announced plans last month for 3,000 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.