Erdogan Announces his Opposition to the Freedom of Raqqa with ...

Erdogan Announces his Opposition to the Freedom of Raqqa with ...
Sat Sep 24, 2016 09:43:43

The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned it will not participate in a US led coalition offensive to push the Islamic State (ISIS / ISIL / IS and Daesh) out of Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, if the Syrian Kurds are also involved in the operation.

Turkey’s position towards the liberation of Raqqa was announced soon after the New York Times (NYT) reported that the Obama administration is considering directly arming the Syrian Kurds combating ISIS, a move that could break down the already strained relationship between the United States and Turkey.

“Negotiations are still ongoing, there is nothing certain yet.

Our principled stance is the same as it was with Manbij and Jarablus. It is out of the question for us to take part in an operation in which the PYD / YPG are present,” Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for the Erdogan administration, told state-run news channel TRT Haber on Thursday, reports Hurriyet Daily News.

“In principle, we support Raqqa and the other Syrian cities being cleansed from Daesh [ISIS], but as we said before, we have principles and conditions on the issue,” added the spokesman.

The Obama administration, with the exception of the Pentagon, does not consider the Syrian Kurdish groups to be aligned with the terrorist PKK group.

To the dismay of Erdogan, the White House and the US State Department have declared the Syrian Kurds to be the most effective force fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria, rather than terrorists.

The Turkish president has long been opposed to the US arming the Syrian Kurds, which he considers enemies.


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