US backs Turkish push against ISIL on Syrian border

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik discuss Ankara's role in anti-ISIL operations

US backs Turkish push against ISIL on Syrian border

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik discussed Thursday supporting local forces to liberate the Syrian city of Raqqah from ISIL.

Carter and Isik held talks on the fringes of a UN peacekeeping meeting of defense ministers in London.

A briefing issued by the Pentagon after the meeting said they “discussed Turkey's recent successes against ISIL [ISIL] in Northern Syria, and Carter assured Isik of the United States' continued support for Turkey's efforts to clear ISIL from its borders”.

It continued: “The two also discussed the importance of retaking Raqqah, and the need for local forces to play a central role. Both agreed to maintain frequent communication on the full range of mutual interests.”

Carter also thanked Isik for “Turkey's resolve in the fight against extremism and Turkey's critical support for the counter-ISIL campaign.”

Earlier the U.S. Defense Secretary had said his country would work with both Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) group to combat the ISIL threat.

The main objectives were to “envelope and collapse” ISIL in Raqqah and the Iraqi city of Mosul, he told BBC radio.

The SDF is made up of forces including the PKK/PYD. Turkey considers the latter a extremist organization due to the PKK’s decades-long war with Ankara.

Turkish forces' Operation Euphrates Shield began Aug. 24 when the Free Syria Army, backed by the Turkish military, liberated Jarabulus in northern Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Eylül 2016, 09:37
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