Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today confirmed that negotiations with Turkey are ongoing related to the upcoming invasion of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital city of ISIS. Carter suggested Turkey’s involvement would only happen “further down the road.”
The US announced that it intends to launch an invasion of Raqqa very soon, will conduct the operation concurrent with the ongoing invasion of Mosul in Iraq, and that Kurdish YPG forces will be providing the vast majority of the forces for this offensive.
That’s irked Turkey, particularly the last part, as Turkish officials repeatedly warned the US against allowing Kurds anywhere near Raqqa and have suggested their own involvement was contingent on there being no Kurds involved.
Carter’s comments suggest the US plan to invade without Turkey is unchanged, and that they intend to try to placate Turkey about the involvement of the YPG by giving them some involvement in the post-ISIS situation in Raqqa. Turkey is particularly keen to ensure that their own allies end up in control of Raqqa, and that’s likely the main incentive of this deal.