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Turkey’s Erdogan: Pursuit of Militants Will Be Unrelenting | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkish police work near the explosion scene following a late night attack on a wedding party in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey near the Syrian border on August 21, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / AHMED DEEP

Speaking in the city of Gaziantep Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Turkey’s pursuit of militant groups would be unrelenting. The city suffered an earlier attack by a suicide bomber, believed to be backed by ISIS. The assailant targeted a wedding earlier this month and had killed 54.

“Our operations against terrorist organizations will continue until the end,” he told a rally of thousands of flag-waving supporters.

Erdogan citied all militant groups such as ISIS, Kurdish insurgents PKK and supporters of a U.S.-based cleric blamed for masterminding last month’s failed coup.

The Turkish President said a cross-border offensive into Syria was giving people who fled ISIS-controlled areas a chance to return home, including to the town of Jarablus. “People who it belongs to are coming back,” he said.

Turkey, for the first time since the start of the crisis, has decided to step in directly aiming to stop the augmenting aftermath of its neighbor’s civil war which features ISIS and threats of Kurdish expansion.

The five-year civil war ravaging Syria chiefly pits Bashar al-Assad’s 16-year-old regime with an opposition attempting to oust what it views a ruthless dictatorship.

On the other hand, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was pressing members of the U.N. Security Council, including Russia, to condemn the Syrian regime following a report that found proof of regime usage of chemical weapons.

“I see no reason that could be given, or any arguments that could be made, for not condemning the use of chemical weapons,” he said, when asked if Russia would support the resolution.