Following a meeting with US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik gave an interview to state media in which he claimed the US was eager to work with the Turkish military on a joint invasion of the ISIS capital city of Raqqa.
Turkey has been demanding to be given a major role in the invasion of Raqqa, saying it should be a joint Turkey-US operation, that no Kurdish fighters can be allowed, and that the US likewise must ensure that the Kurds don’t gain any new territory in the operation.
The US has mostly not discussed this matter, though with only a few hundred US troops in Syria, virtually all embedded with the Kurdish YPG, it’s hard to see how they’d have such an invasion without the Kurds. Indeed, Ash Carter has recently talked of arming the YPG for such an operation.
One thing Ash Carter didn’t talk about was invading Raqqa with Turkey, as despite Isik making that the focus of his post-meeting interview, Carter’s own comments after the meeting didn’t mention Syria very much at all, and didn’t touch of Raqqa, instead focusing on the battle in Mosul, and potential Turkish involvement in that.
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