Syria – Conflict – Turkey – USA

Turkey, USA Ready to Work on Ousting ISIS from Syria’s Raqqa: Erdogan

Turkey, USA Ready to Work on Ousting ISIS from Syria’s Raqqa: Erdogan
Wed Sep 7, 2016 16:54:04

Washington and Ankara are ready to work together to push Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) 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 ISIS out of Raqqa.

“Raqqa is the most important center of Daesh,” Erdogan told Turkish journalists onboard his plane as he returned from China, using an Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and US President Barack Obama

“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 President Bashar al-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.

ISIS rapidly infiltrated the city, which is strategically located near the Turkish border, and declared a caliphate in 2014.

Ousting ISIS 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 ISIS terrorists and Kurdish militia.

Ankara-backed rebels seized the town of Jarabulus from ISIS 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 an ISIS rocket attack on their tanks; AFP reported.

S/SH 11

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