World

Syria: Showdown In Raqqa To Begin In June

Syria: Showdown In Raqqa To Begin In June

His forces would receive "special weapons and armoured vehicles" to enter the city, Hassan said, after President Donald Trump changed USA policy to allow arms deliveries to the SDF s Kurdish component.

Tension was expected already for the Erdogan talks, after the US announced last week that it would arm Kurdish Syrian militants to help them fight IS. He committed to backing Turkey's fight against the Islamic State group and a Kurdish insurgency known as the PKK, which the US, the European Union and Turkey all consider a terrorist organization.

Turkey is determined to "root out terror", Yildirim said, if "necessary guarantees for Turkey's sensitivities and issues pertaining to Turkey's security are still not given".

There is no avoiding the fact that Turkey will play a major role in any Middle East settlement, and that no matter how effective the Kurdish fighters are, the United States must find common ground with President Erdogan on the region's future. Now we will have the final meeting, and then we will make our final decision. The Obama administration previously provided arms to the SDF, while deploying hundreds of USA special operations troops to northern Syria to train Syrian Kurdish fighters. President Trump hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on Tuesday.

Ties have also been strained by Turkey's demand for the extradition of US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Turkey blames for last year's failed coup attempt. One possibility to explore is whether YPG militia could persuade the PKK to call off its current campaign against Turkey and return to the negotiating table. Gulen, who has denied involvement in the coup, remains in the United States. Gulen's supporters likely fear such an outcome, but it is hard to imagine that Sessions, even if he were convinced that political considerations trumped the law in this case, would acquiesce to such an action on the heels of the early termination of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

The slow pace of US efforts to take Islamic State strongholds Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq have produced a risky USA move in relations with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey. Departing to China on a visit on May 12, before officially meeting with Trump in Washington, Turkish President Erdogan pointed out that the upcoming visit to Washington will be a turning point in the relations between the two countries: "The meeting with Trump will not be at a comma distance, but at a point distance".




The spat over Syria represents the deepest crisis in bilateral ties since Ankara denied Washington permission to deploy US troops to attack Iraq from Turkish soil in 2003. Too exuberant in its support for the Kurds, and the US risks pushing ally Turkey toward USA geopolitical rivals like Russian Federation or emboldening the Kurds to try to create an independent state — a scenario that would destabilize multiple countries in the region. Erdogan saw this as a refusal to cooperate against a criminal terrorist, helping to sour further the already hard relationship between his government and the Obama administration.

At the end of the day, Kahl said, Trump came to the same conclusion as Obama, but only after Erdogan had won his referendum without the annoyance of an open breach with Washington. The letter borrows heavily from talking points the Turkish Presidency used previously.

Turkish government officials have offered their own troops, saying they don't want the Syrian Kurds, whom they consider terrorists, to take Raqqa.

Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have pressed for the U.S.to reverse its strategy, however low the prospects of Trump changing his mind.

The Syrian Kurds expressed their readiness to go further and drive ISIS terrorists from Raqqa with the support of Western coalition forces, which should be not only in air cover by the aviation, but also in the supply of heavy weapons. Last week's decision, however, arms Kurdish units in Syria known as the YPG.


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