The Turkish army is mulling the establishment of a military base close to the Syrian city of al-Bab, says deputy prime minister.
On Monday, Veysi Kaynak told reporters that Turkish General Staff is considering Aqil Hill, west of al-Bab, for the location of base.
After capturing the strategic location in February, the Turkish army has been using it as a temporary command post, but now seeks to establish something more permanent.
Kaynak, who was making the remarks following a trip from trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that since announcing of the end of its Euphrates Shield operation the number of troops stationed in the area has been reduced from 8,000 to 1,500.
On March 29, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the end of the country’s Euphrates Shield operation on Syrian soil.
In August 2016, Turkey began the major military intervention in Syria, sending tanks and warplanes across the border. Ankara claimed that its military campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh from Turkey’s border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces, but Damascus denounced the operation as a breach of its sovereignty.
The deputy premier also noted that Turkey is looking to establish an outpost in the province of Idlib, where a safe zone has been declared by Iran, Russia, and Turkey.
On May 5, an agreement to create four “de-escalation zones” aimed at ending the conflict in war-torn Syria has come into force a day after Iran, Russia and Turkey signed the agreement during the fourth round of the Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, and two days after Moscow put forward the proposal.
Different foreign-backed terrorist groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria since 2011.
Over the past few months, Syrian forces have made sweeping gains against Takfiri elements who have lately increased their acts of violence across the country following a series of defeats on the ground.