Erdogan: Turkish army aims to cleanse Raqqa from ISIL

Turkey seeks to create safe zone in Syria Erdogan

Now al-Bab is being besieged by Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army and retaking the town is "a matter of time", as IS forces have begun to leave the town, according to the president.

A Russian warplane "accidentally" hit a building on Thursday in northern Syria with Turkish soldiers inside, killing at least three troops and wounding 11, Turkey's military said.

He said there had been a communications failure, adding: "There should not have been Turkish soldiers within the limits of these coordinates".

On August 24, the Turkish military and allied rebel factions launched Operation Euphrates Shield.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday the final goal of a Turkish incursion into Syria was not just to retake the city of al-Bab from Islamic State, but to cleanse a border region including Raqqa of the jihadists. Ankara is already under fire for supporting militants operating against the Syrian government.

Al-Bab is being targeted by both regime forces and an alliance of Turkish troops backed by Syrian rebel forces.

The death toll for Turkish troops fighting in Syria is now at 67. After almost two months Turkish backed rebels said they were close to capturing al-Bab.

Syria's army advanced on Friday to the outskirts of a key Islamic State group bastion that is also being targeted by Turkey's army and allied forces, a monitor said. One of them said government forces had moved towards their positions in tanks.

"After al-Bab we will not stop".

The Russian Defense Ministry has also confirmed the unintentional strike, killing Turkish servicemen in Syria. "I believe the liberation of al-Bab will be complete very soon", Erdogan said.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier this week that clashes with Syrian forces had been avoided thanks to worldwide coordination, including that between Turkey and Russian Federation. It is now up to Turkey, Russia and Iran to demonstrate whether they can mediate a stable outcome for the town, or whether the front will dissolve into open warfare.

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