ANKARA, February 28. /TASS/. Turkey may launch an operation aimed at liberating Syria’s Raqqa from terrorists but only if understanding is reached with Russia and the international coalition, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday in Istanbul before departing for Pakistan.
"We are about to wrap up the discussion of the al-Bab operation. After that, we have Raqqa on the agenda, provided we come to understanding with Russia, the international coalition, the US. In this case, we will consider Raqqa and Manbij," he said.
Erdogan also said that "in the current situation, Turkey places much importance on talks with Russia, which is a country close to Turkey, as well as on contacts with our strategic allies, the coalition and the US." "Taking the present situation into account, cooperation with these countries in Syria is very important for us," he added.
The Turkish president went on saying that he had discussed the situation in al-Bab and the progress of the Euphrates Shield operation with the country’s Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar. "The main thing that we discussed was concluding the operation in al-Bab. We also exchanged views on our contacts with the US and Russia on these matters and what prospects there are. But the fact that the al-Bab operation has almost concluded does not mean that the work (in Syria) is done," Erdogan said.
He also stressed that "Turkey does not plan to remain in Syria" after the Euphrates Shield operation was over.