BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently told journalists in Ankara that his forces will continue their military operations in Syria after they capture Al-Bab.
Erdogan specifically stated that his forces will concentrate on Raqqa City, which is currently under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS).
However, this presents quite a problem for Erdogan because the quickest way to get to Raqqa City from Al-Bab is through the main highway that flows through Deir Hafer, which is another Islamic State stronghold.
The Turkish Armed Forces are currently cutoff from this highway, thanks in large part to the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) recent advances south of Al-Bab.
Moreover, the Syrian Arab Army is now pushing towards the village of Al-Sukkariya in order to completely close off the Turkish Armed Forces from the Maskanah Plains of east Aleppo.
So with the Aleppo-Raqqa Highway cutoff and Al-Sukkariya soon to be under the Syrian Arab Army’s control, the Turkish Armed Forces and their rebel allies will have to choose an alternative route.
This alternative route requires the Turkish Armed Forces to go through the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) front-lines in northern Al-Raqqa, which is also a much faster route to the Islamic State stronghold.
If the Kurdish forces do not voluntarily withdraw from this area in northern Al-Raqqa, a large battle will likely ensue in the weeks following the Turkish Army’s capture of Al-Bab.