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Ankara Reveals Old Plan to Liberate Raqqa by Arab Forces | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). (AFP)

Ankara – Ankara officially revealed for the first time some details of its proposals to liberate Syria’s Raqqa city from ISIS.

The plan relies on Arab forces instead of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said during a television interview on Friday that Turkey had presented the plan to the United States as an alternative to its support to Kurdish militias, which Ankara deem as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.

The proposal calls for training 10,000 to 12,000 thousand people are part of the Free Syrian Army. The Arab members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will then join them.

Kalin said that this 20,000-strong force, backed by airstrikes and the international coalition, will be able to carry out the upcoming Raqqa operation. Washington’s plan to recapture Raqqa primarily relies on the SDF.

According to some military experts, Washington believes that Kurdish forces are better prepared to defeat ISIS and it does not have much trust in the Free Syrian Amy due to the divisions among its factions.

Kalin revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had during his latest meeting with US President Donald Trump and other US officials underlined the American error in arming the YPG as part of the war on ISIS.

Erdogan had met with Trump in May when he visited the US.

Kalin added that the American officials told the Turkish president that they will take measures that will ease Ankara’s security fears.

“We will continue to work with the US as a member in the alliance against ISIS. It is clear however that the Americans committed a mistake in this issue and they will see its results on the long or short term,” he said.

He stated that Washington will soon regret arming the Kurdish forces and will eventually turn to Turkey for help.