The Turkish government announced the end of its Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria on 29 March, a day ahead of the US secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to the country.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim declared the operation a success but did not exclude the possibility of a new military intervention. "Operation Euphrates Shield has been successful and is finished. Any operation following this one will have a different name," Yildirim said in an interview with broadcaster NTV, quoted in Reuters.

The operation was launched in August 2016 in an effort to combat Isis and Kurdish militants in northern Syria. As part of the operation, Turkey also offered military support to the rebel group Free Syrian Army (FSA) and together they liberated the town of al-Bab from jihadists control in February.

They also backed operation against the Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria, despite the US support for the Kurdish militia.

The latter is one of the issues that has put the two Nato allies at odds with each other. Turkey has vehemently opposed the US backing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Force (SDF) in liberating the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria. The country considers groups linked to the SDF such as the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as terrorists affiliated to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Military operations in Raqqa are expected to be a topic of discussion with Tillerson during his first visit to Turkey as a secretary of state. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also intend to raise the issues of the recent detention in the US of a Turkish banker for violating sanctions against Iran and the request for extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of orchestrating the failed 15 July coup against Erdogan.