Syrian Army Advances in Eastern Aleppo Means End of Turkey’s Raqqa Dreams
The Arabic language al-Ahd daily quoted opposition sources as saying that the ISIL withdrew from the al-Bab town via the road connecting the town of Tadif to al-Khafseh region and moved its forces from there to al-Tabaqh in Western Raqqa after ferrying across the Assad Lake on Thursday.
The daily further added that the Turkish army and Ankara-backed militants of the Euphrates Shield operation entered al-Bab after ISIL’s withdrawal.
Al-Ahd went on to say that the ISIL was afraid of the Syrian Army advance from the Eastern direction of Kuweires airbase towards al-Khafseh as such a move could lay siege on ISIL terrorists in al-Bab.
The daily further pointed out that once the Syrian soldiers start their march from their positions in Kuweires airbase and go to a 15km distance from al-Khafseh, they will reach al-Babiri pumping station and foil the Turkish army’s planned road to Raqqa.
Al-Ahd reported that Turkey has called on the US to provide air cover and ground backup for its forces to reach Raqqa via two roads that run along the Euphrates River’s banks and go through the regions under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in Tal Abyadh in the East and Jarabulus in the West.
The Syrian army’s advance from Kuweires to al-Khafseh is predicted to be fast as no one lives in the region anymore.
Media sources said on Friday that the ISIL terrorists began withdrawal from the strategic town of al-Bab in Northern Syria.
The ISIL terrorist group started leaving the besieged town of al-Bab, al-Mayadeen news channel reported, adding that the town was under siege by the Turkish-affiliated and Syrian army forces.
The remaining areas of al-Bab which were occupied by the terrorists came under siege as the Syrian army approached the town from the South earlier, cutting off militants’ routes.
A senior Syrian legislator disclosed on Tuesday that Damascus troops were about to launch a massive operation to capture the SIL-held town of al-Bab East of Aleppo province within the next few days after Turkey sustained a major defeat and withdrew forces from the strategic town.
“The army will capture and impose full control over al-Bab in coming days,” Mohanad al-Haj told FNA.
Noting that liberation of al-Bab would defuse Turkish and US plots to create a safe zone in Northern Syria and would be a new winning card for Damascus in peace talks, he said, “The al-Bab battle will certainly cut the link between terrorists and their backers in Syria and will be a second decisive battle before declaring Syria’s full victory in the war.”
Al-Haj stated that Turkey and its affiliated militant troops failed to push ISIL back in al-Bab after their recent losses and defeats, and said liberation of al-Bab by the army would push Turkey, Europe and the US into a status of confusion because they will be faced with a flood of defeated foreign terrorists seeking to return to their homelands.
Reports said on February 13 that the Turkish troops and their affiliated forces had taken as much as 40 percent of the Northern Syrian town of al-Bab from ISIL.
But only a few days later, reinvigorated ISIL troops returned to the battle scene and captured almost the entire city. Media sources disclosed on February 19 that the Turkish army and Ankara-backed militant groups have sustained a major defeat in al-Bab and lost almost the entire town.
“In spite of what Turkey has claimed that the Euphrates Shield military operation in al-Bab is nearing its end, the Turkish-back militants have not made any progress in the town and the ISIL is now in control of 90 percent of al-Bab,” the Arabic-language al-Watan daily said quoting the pro-militant Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The report comes as Turkish airstrikes as well as artillery attacks by the Turkish army and the Ankara-backed Euphrates Shield Operation militants were strongly underway, taking the lives of over 100 civilians in the last 10 days.
The Turkish army troops have also sustained heavy losses and casualties in their operation that has been underway without the Damascus government’s permission.