BEIRUT — The Latest on Syria’s conflict (all times local):
Turkey’s foreign minister says the international coalition needs a strategy to defeat the Islamic State group without the involvement of Kurdish rebels, which Turkey deems a terrorist group.
In a televized news conference Tuesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Syrian Kurdish militia cannot be partners in clearing the Islamic State group from Iraq and Syria.
Cavusoglu says the Syrian Kurdish militia forces inclusion in an operation to liberate Raqqa from the Islamic State group would endanger Syria’s future.
He says more than 200 Syrian Kurdish fighters remain in the city of Manbij, despite promises by U.S. leaders that they would withdraw east of the Euphrates. He asks, “if you cannot send more than 200 of them back, how will you trust them in other places?”
He was speaking at a joint news conference with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Ankara
A Syrian military official says operations in Aleppo have been continuing since they were announced last week and will not stop before “terrorist groups” in the area have been eliminated.
Speaking to The Associated Press in the capital, Damascus, on Tuesday, the official says battles will continue daily on all fronts in Aleppo until the “terrorists” in the “eastern parts of the city are wiped out.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
His comments came as state media reported that government forces had captured several buildings in the old quarter of Aleppo.
Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and once commercial center, has been contested since 2012 but in recent weeks government forces have laid a siege on eastern rebel-held neighborhoods.
Syrian state TV is reporting that government forces are advancing in the old quarter of the northern city of Aleppo and have captured several buildings.
The station said Tuesday troops are now advancing toward the central rebel-held neighborhood of Farafra.
The contested old quarter of Aleppo is home to the Umayyad Mosque, a UNESCO world heritage site and centerpiece of Aleppo’s walled Old City. The 11th-century minaret of the famed mosque collapsed in April 2013 during fighting.
The offensive comes after days of intense airstrikes on rebel-held eastern parts of the city, during which scores of people were killed and a number of buildings demolished.
Over the weekend, government forces captured the Palestinian refugee camp of Handarat north of the city but rebels regained control of it hours later.