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Turkey ends Euphrates Shield military campaign in Syria

Prot-Turkish fighters on outskirts of Al-Bab (04/02/17)Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pro-Turkish rebels have closed in on the town of Al-Bab from the north and east

Turkey says it has “successfully” ended its seven-month Euphrates Shield military campaign in northern Syria.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made the announcement at a meeting of the country’s security council.

He did not rule out new military operations and did not say whether Turkish troops would now leave Syria.

Turkey launched the offensive last August to push Islamic State militants away from its border and also to stop the advance of local Kurdish fighters.

“Operation Euphrates Shield has been successful and is finished. Any operation following this one will have a different name,” Mr Yildirim said on Wednesday.

On 24 August, Turkish troops, tanks and planes crossed the border in what Ankara said was the operation to push IS militants from a 100km (60 miles) stretch of the border.

The army and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have captured several towns, including Jarablus, finally moving south to the strategic town of Al-Bab.

The Turkish operation was also aimed at preventing Kurdish YPG militias from crossing the Euphrates River westwards and linking up with mainly Kurdish areas there.

Ankara is concerned that Syrian Kurds will try to establish self-ruling territories similar to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

It considers YPG units to be the Syrian extension of the Kurdish PKK group, which has been fighting an insurgency in south-eastern Turkey for decades.

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