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Turkey Ready to Join US in Liberating Raqqa

  • VOA News

FILE - Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces prepare to fire a mortar shell towards positions held by Islamic State fighters in northern province of Raqqa, Syria, May 27, 2016.

FILE - Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces prepare to fire a mortar shell towards positions held by Islamic State fighters in northern province of Raqqa, Syria, May 27, 2016.

Turkey would be ready to join any future operation proposed by the United States to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish media report Erdogan told journalists Wednesday traveling home with him from the G-20 meeting the issue was brought up by U.S. President Barack Obama during their talks on the sideline of the summit in China.

“Obama wants to do some things jointly concerning Raqqa. We said this would not be a problem from our perspective,'' Erdogan is quoted as saying.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (L) listens to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama (R) to reporters after their bilateral meeting alongside the G20 Summit, in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (L) listens to remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama (R) to reporters after their bilateral meeting alongside the G20 Summit, in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 4, 2016.

He said Turkish and U.S. military officials could meet to discuss capturing Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State.

Two weeks ago Turkey's military entered northern Syria to back efforts by Syrian rebels to dislodge IS and also to prevent the Kurdish YPG militia from expanding into new territory.

U.S. officials have welcomed Turkish efforts against Islamic State in Syria, but they have voiced concern when Turkish troops engaged fighters aligned to the YPG, a force Washington sees as a valuable ally in battling jihadists.

FILE - A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) poses for a photo at sunset in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, some 50 kilometers north of Raqqa, during clashes between IS group jihadists and YPG fighters on July 10, 2015.

FILE - A fighter from the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG) poses for a photo at sunset in the Syrian town of Ain Issi, some 50 kilometers north of Raqqa, during clashes between IS group jihadists and YPG fighters on July 10, 2015.

Turkey has been alarmed by U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its YPG militia, which Ankara considers a "terrorist" group linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) fighting for its own state in Turkey.

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