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  Turkey says ready to help US capture IS Capital

Turkey says ready to help US capture IS Capital

REUTERS
Published : Sep 8, 2016, 2:23 am IST
Updated : Sep 8, 2016, 2:23 am IST

Turkey would be ready to join any initiative proposed by the United States to capture an ISIS stronghold in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks published on Wednesday, as Turkish-backed fo

French and Vietnamese employees work inside French IT company Linkbynet in Ho Chi Minh City.	 — AFP
 French and Vietnamese employees work inside French IT company Linkbynet in Ho Chi Minh City. — AFP

Turkey would be ready to join any initiative proposed by the United States to capture an ISIS stronghold in Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks published on Wednesday, as Turkish-backed forces took more Syrian land from jihadists.

Mr Obama floated the idea of joint action with Turkey to capture Raqqa during talks between the two leaders at a G20 summit in China, Mr Erdogan said, according to Wednesday’s edition of Turkey’s Hurriyet daily.

Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria on August 24 to clear ISIS from its border and to prevent territorial gains by the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara believes has links to Kurdish insurgents fighting on its soil.

“(Mr) Obama wants to do some things together concerning Raqqa inparticular,” Mr Erdogan told reporters on his plane that arrived early on Tuesday, referring to ISIS’ de facto capital. He was speaking after meetings in China with Mr Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

“We stated that would not be a problem from our perspective. We said, ‘Let our soldiers come together, whatever is necessary will be done’,” the Turkish President said, adding that a specific Turkish role would depend on further talks.

US officials have welcomed Turkish efforts to dislodge ISIS from Syrian strongholds but voiced concern when Turkish troops engaged fighters aligned to the YPG, a force Washington sees as a valuable ally in battling jihadists. Turkish-backed forces clashed with YPG fighters in the initial stages of the two-week old Turkish incursion into Syria, but have since shifted their focus onto territory held by ISIS and captured a string of villages.

Turkey’s military said late on Tuesday that three Turkish soldiers were killed when two tanks were hit by rockets fired by ISIS.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul