Turkey Wanted Thousands of US Ground Troops for Raqqa Invasion

Joint Invasion Proposal Would've Been Alternative to Kurdish Invasion

As Kurdish forces continue to slowly advance into the ISIS capital city of Raqqa, new details are emerging about the alternative strategy proposed by Turkey, which would’ve seen US and Turkish forces invading the city jointly, cutting the Kurds out of the matter.

Turkish officials say they offered to send “tens of thousands” of Turkish troops into the city, ut also wanted thousands of US ground troops participating as well. The US rejected the proposal, citing Pentagon estimates that the invasion would require 80,000 troops. Even Turkey’s suggestion that other rebels could be brought in didn’t convince the US.

The US instead opted to back an invasion by the Kurdish YPG, which has seen between 30,000 and 40,000 Kurdish fighters committed to the city. US troops have been directly involved in this invasion as well, though exact figures have not been made public, and indeed the Pentagon is keeping the size of its force in Syria a secret.

Turkish officials continue to be annoyed by the US choosing the Kurds over them, even if the Kurdish version has allowed them to make their direct military involvement a lot less public. With growing tensions between Turkey and the YPG, the Raqqa invasion may ultimately be derailed, as Turkish offensives may force the Kurds to commit to defending their territory instead of attacking.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.