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Turkey Proposes Joining U.S. in Raqqa Battle - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ankara – Turkey has proposed forming a joint operation administration in Manbij between Arab fighters within the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Syrian Free Army.

“The Arab elements of the SDF should learn to cooperate with the Free Syrian Army (FSA). We want the Arab elements of the SDF and the FSA to establish a joint administration in Manbij,” a senior Turkish official told Anadolou News Agency.

The official, whose name was not revealed, said that both the SDF and FSA should act together in a military offensive towards liberating Raqqa.

He reiterated Ankara’s refusal of the participation of any Kurdish militias in the operations.

The main group within the SDF is the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey charges is closely linked with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), is a terrorist organization according to Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had renewed Ankara’s wished to participate in the operations led by the U.S. in the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS terrorists, given that no Kuridsh Syrian fighters participate.

It is known that Washington considers the YPG its ally and continue to arm the forces despite Ankara’s objection.

The official expressed his country’s willingness to coordinate with the international coalition within a plan set prior to the initiation of the military action.

He added that Ankara had presented its vision for the liberation to the Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his visit to Turkey few days ago.

Turkish sources revealed that, and according to Ankara, during the liberation of Raqqa, FSA fighters should replace the YPG.

During a phone call, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry the situations in Syria, especially Aleppo.

Turkish diplomatic sources said that the both Cavusoglu and Kerry discussed the steps that need to be taken in the coming stages regarding sending aid to besieged citizens.

As part of the ongoing “Euphrates Shield” operation, the Turkish military hit ten ISIS targets on Saturday, and destroyed over 99 targets belonging to the extremist organization within Syria.

According to a written statement released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), the forces on the Turkish-Syrian border had targeted 99 ISIS locations with howitzer and rocket fire.

The statement also indicated that the forces captured 1835 persons trying to infiltrate the borders illegally, 1592 of which were trying to cross from Syria to Turkey and 18 the other way.