Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition, has denied that the Turks are involved in the operation to take Raqqa, although the US is open to a Turkish role.
A Turkish presidential spokesperson said on Wednesday that Turkey has a detailed plan to drive ISIS from Raqqa, and that it will discuss plan with the US-led coalition.
The Turkish president Erdogan has reportedly discussed the Raqqa plan with US president Donald Trump.
“Yeah, those are ongoing diplomatic discussions that have occurred between Turkey, the U.S. government and various members of the coalition. So I’m not gonna get inside those discussions, that’s best handled in a face-to-face diplomatic discussion rather than through media,” Colonel Dorian said.
The coalition’s official added that the operation is now carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), not Turkey.
“They [Turks] have been focused on al-Bab and other areas previously in northern Syria. So not at this point, but I know there have been meetings and discussions to that effect and we’ve said for many weeks that we’re open to a Turkish role,” Colonel Dorrian said. “But as yet, that hasn’t come to fruition and we’ll just have to let that play out.”
The spokesman pointed out that there is coordination between the US-led coalition and Turkey every day on an operational level. “We coordinate a lot of operations to support them as they advance into al-Bab. We’ve conducted a number of strikes for them to do that. We’ve conducted strikes throughout their campaign to drive ISIS from northern Syria,” he stated.
According to the US-led coalition, the SDF forces have cleared 63 square kilometers of territory northeast of Raqqa since 7 February, clearing out total of 3,410 square kilometers of territory from ISIS control since they launched their operation to isolate Raqqa on November 6th, 2016.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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