Search form

Last updated: 34 min 13 sec ago

You are here

Middle-East

Turkey, US to join hands in anti-Daesh fight: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
ISTANBUL: Washington and Ankara are ready to work together to push Daesh terrorists out of their de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in comments published Wednesday.

Erdogan said he had agreed with President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in China to do “what is necessary” to drive Daesh out of Raqqa.
“Raqqa is the most important center of Daesh,” Erdogan told Turkish journalists onboard his plane as he returned from China.
“Obama wants to do something together especially on the issue of Raqqa,” he said. “I said there would be no problem from our perspective.”
“I said ‘our soldiers should come together and discuss, then what is necessary will be done’,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet daily.
Without giving further details, he said: “What can be done will become clear after the discussions.”
Forces loyal to Bashar Assad’s regime were pushed out of Raqqa, which lies on the Euphrates River, in 2013, making it the first provincial capital in Syria to fall out of government control.
Daesh rapidly infiltrated the city, which is strategically located near the Turkish border, and declared a caliphate in 2014.
Ousting Daesh from the city would be a turning point in the conflict and mark a huge blow to the terrorists.
Erdogan’s comments came two weeks after Turkey launched an ambitious operation inside Syria, sending tanks and special forces to back up Syrian opposition fighters and cleanse its frontier from Daesh terrorists and Kurdish militia.
Ankara-backed rebels seized the town of Jarabulus from Daesh militants within hours on the first day of the operation and Turkey says terrorists have now been removed from the entire border area. But Turkey on Tuesday sustained its biggest loss of life in the operation to date, with three soldiers killed in a Daesj rocket attack on their tanks.
With the offensive still pressing on, the Turkish army said six more villages south of the town of Al-Rai had been retaken from Daesh terrorists on Tuesday, in a statement carried by state-run news agency Anadolu.
Yet it remains unclear if the Syrian rebels backed by Turkey will proceed further south to take Al-Bab from the terrorists and then Raqqa itself, or to what extent the operation has US support.
Turkey has been alarmed by US support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia which Ankara sees as a “terrorist” group linked to its own Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish state.
“We need to show we are present in the region,” said Erdogan.

MORE FROM Middle-East