Turkish PM: Raqqa operation started on Friday night

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

A US-backed operation to liberate Syria’s Raqqa from ISIS terrorists started on Friday night, Anadolu cited Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Sunday.

Addressing the representatives of media outlets in capital Ankara late on Saturday, Yildirim said the United States informed Turkey regarding the operation before it started.

Yildirim reiterated Turkey's disapproval to the US method of conducting the Raqqa operation and said that the US reassured the weapons used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria will not be a threat to Turkey.

"They (the US) told us that it was not an option but an obligation (to cooperate with PYD, People's Protection Units (YPG) in Raqqa operation) and that the tactical cooperation with them would not be maintained for long after the (Raqqa) operation."

The difference between Washington and Ankara on Syria mainly derives from how they regard the armed groups in the region.

The Turkish government considers the PYD/YPG to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization by Turkey and the US.

However, the US does not view the PKK/PYD similarly, instead relying on the group extensively in the battle against ISIS in northern Syria. The YPG-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been Washington's principal partner in the anti-ISIS fight.

Last Modified: 06 04 2017 01:02 PM

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