Turkey will not hand over al-Bab to Syrian government forces: deputy PM

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus visits the grave of late Moroccan Minister of State Abdellah Baha at Martyrs' Cemetery in Rabat, March 4, 2015. Kurtulmus is in Morocco for an official visit. REUTERS/Stringer

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Claims that Turkey will hand over the Syrian town of al-Bab to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces after driving out Islamic State are not true, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the state-run Anadolu agency on Tuesday.

Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging al-Bab since December. Kurtulmus said the U.S.-led coalition had failed to give sufficient support to Turkey’s operation to seize the town.

Reporting by Daren Butler; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall