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Rudaw

Middle East

Turkey proposes working with Arab SDF fighters to capture Raqqa

By Rudaw 30/9/2016
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Manbij. AFP photo
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Manbij. AFP photo

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has proposed working with Arab fighters within the Syrian Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for any future operation to capture Raqqa from Islamic State (ISIS) militants. 

“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 Hurriyet news. 

“These Arabs should act together in a military offensive towards Raqqa, too,” the official added. 

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) and refuses to work with. 

Ankara agreed to permit the SDF, including YPG elements, to cross westward of the Euphrates River to recapture Manbij from ISIS earlier this year. They successfully did so but Turkey is frustrated that the YPG have not completely withdrawn. 

Turkish-backed forces fighting under the flag of the FSA have also clashed with SDF/YPG fighters since the Turkish intervention in northwestern Syria in late August. 

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed upcoming operations against ISIS militants in both Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq. 

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yad | 30/9/2016
Every party has affiliation to a country and every country is trying to strengthen its foot in Syria, so Turkey's country has been trying to attract Anti-Syria force to it and has a bad view toward YPG by claimed linking to PKK who has been fighting with Turkish army since 1980. Iran and Russia both want to use Kurdish force (YPG) to fight ISIS, any way, MUSLIMS are being targeted by them to decrease number of their fighter.
Pete | 30/9/2016
Screw Turkey, long live the PKK.
Jimmy | 30/9/2016
Erdogan & co must think the Americans are stupid something. Kurdish forces not only make up 90% of SDF but do all the fighting, the Arabs are used to hold Arab towns and villiags after they're cleared of ISIS
dyar | 30/9/2016
everyone knows by know how they've put a dozen jihadi groups together and keep repeating 'FSA'. they're only 3-4 thousend and can't even hold the small stretch between azaz-jarablus , but the turks suggest they take raqqa LOL
duroi | 30/9/2016
I highly doubt that Turkey has the capabilities to capture even al-Bab without taking huge casualties. Once Turkey's logistics extend beyond 30 KM from the security of its borders, its Tanks and army personnel turn into sitting ducks in Syria. Turkey knows this and it is working on plan B, a $1 Billion "2 meter tick" wall on its border with Syria.
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