ANKARA, February 13. /TASS/. Turkey seeks to create in Syria a safe zone free of terrorists on an area up to 5,000 square kilometers, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said while on a visit to Bahrain on Monday.
"Our operation to liberate al-Bab from the Islamic State group is now nearing completion," the Turkish leader said.
"If then we take joint measures with coalition forces to liberate Raqqa and Manbij, a (de facto) safe zone will be created there, a zone free of terrorists," Erdogan said.
He said Ankara had earlier told coalition forces that a no-fly zone must be created there as well.
"We want to have a safe zone of 4,500 to 5,000 square kilometers created in the north of the Syrian Arab Republic, where the population could return," the president went on. He said that "more than 3,000 IS militants were destroyed" during the Euphrates Shield operation carried out by the Turkish armed forces jointly with the Free Syrian Army, noting that Turkey also had losses.