US Joint Chiefs Chairman in Turkey to Plan Raqqa Assault | Basnews

http://www.basnews.com/index.php/en/news/middle-east/330998

ISTANBUL — Joseph Dunford, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Turkey on Friday for discussions about the offensive to retake Raqqa, the Islamic State (IS) stronghold in northern Syria, al-Monitor said.

“If we want the Raqqa operation to be successful it should be carried out with Arab forces in the region,” said Isik, asserting that the US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces should not be involved in the fight.

The Donald Trump administration is likely to have a “more flexible” approach to Syria and was not insisting that the Kurds be involved, Isik said.

Turkey is trying to convince the US administration to abandon its fighting partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria against the IS before Trump announces his country’s new strategy on it, according to Hurriet Daily News.

Trump has given a 30-day deadline to the Pentagon to draft a new anti-IS strategy, with the date set to expire on February 28.

Turkey says the US fighting partner, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey and the US.

The Turkish army and the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) will join the US in the fight to drive IS out from Raqqa if the US ends the collaboration with the PYD, Ankara says.

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