Turkey Ready to Join US in Liberating Raqqa
Turkey would be ready to join any future operation proposed by the United States to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkish media report Erdoğan told journalists Wednesday traveling home with him from the G-20 meeting the issue was brought up by U.S. President Barack Obama during their talks on the sideline of the summit in China.
“Obama wants to do some things jointly concerning Raqqa. We said this would not be a problem from our perspective,” Erdoğan is quoted as saying.
He said Turkish and U.S. military officials could meet to discuss capturing Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State.
Two weeks ago Turkey’s military entered northern Syria to back efforts by Syrian rebels to dislodge IS and also to prevent the Kurdish YPG militia from expanding into new territory.
U.S. officials have welcomed Turkish efforts against Islamic State in Syria, but they have voiced concern when Turkish troops engaged fighters aligned to the YPG, a force Washington sees as a valuable ally in battling jihadists.
Turkey has been alarmed by U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia, which Ankara considers a “terrorist” group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for its own state in Turkey.