US to work with both Turkey, anti-DAESH forces in Syria
by Anadolu Agency
LONDONSep 09, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Sep 09, 2016 12:00 am
Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that the U.S. will work with both Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in an operation to envelop the Syrian city of Raqqa. Carter, who is in London to attend a U.N. peacekeeping meeting, said the main objectives in the fight against DAESH were liberating the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, which is DAESH's self-declared capital, and the Iraqi city of Mosul.
He was responding in a BBC radio interview to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's comments earlier this week that a joint U.S.-Turkish operation was being planned to liberate Raqqa, which was taken by DAESH in 2014. "We certainly have joint action with Turkey, which is a member of the coalition and does a great deal, including hosting a number of the aircraft that are involved in the air campaign," Carter said.
"Right now we are working with Turkey to help it secure the last remaining part of the border between Turkey and Syria on both sides of the border, which has been one of the avenues, the arteries through which ISIL [DAESH] has supplied itself with foreign fighters, with equipment and so forth, and we are working with Turkey in that respect."
Carter said the U.S. was also working with the SDF, which is made up of forces including the PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey considers the later a terrorist organization due to the PKK's decades-long war with Ankara. "At the same time, we're working with the Syrian Democratic Forces in a plan to envelop and collapse ISIL's [DAESH] control of Raqqa," Carter said. "We have worked with that group also in Manbij city, which was an important city, and we intend to work with both of these parties. They have their differences with one another, we understand that."
Carter said the U.S. intended to complete the plan to "envelop and contain" Raqqa and Mosul within months, before U.S. President Barack Obama's term ends in January.