17:10 GMT +324 March 2018
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    US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters prepare a rocket-launcher as they advance into the Islamic State (IS) jihadist's group bastion of Manbij, in northern Syria (File)

    With Friends Like These: US-Turkey Friendship to Be Put to the Test in Raqqa

    Middle East
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    As the US establishes its military presence in the Syrian city of Manbij currently being held by Kurdish YPG units, it remains unclear whether the White House finally decided exactly whom it should support in this conflict.

    While talking a lot about cooperation with its Turkish allies, the US continues to support Kurdish political parties and military organizations in Syria like PYD and YPG – a course of action which Ankara vehemently opposes.

    Abdullah Ağar, an anti-terrorism expert and former Turkish special forces operative who took part in military actions in Syria, told Sputnik Turkiye that the US merely seeks to use Turkey to further its own interests in the region, and that an actual military alliance between the US and Turkey can only exist on paper.

    "The fact that the US keeps sending troops, heavy weapons and armored vehicles to Manbij and establishes military bases in the region clearly indicates that there’s a serious crisis in US-Turkish relations. The US actions aimed at strengthening the YPG positions leave Ankara little room for doubt. Turkey is well aware that sooner or later it will have to enter a direct confrontation with the YPG because it (YPG) poses a mid- to long-term threat to the future, security and the unitary structure of the Turkish state," he explained.

    According to Agar, the US is sticking to its favorite strategy of using everyone and everything in order to achieve its goals.

    "The US wants to use its relations with Ankara to further its own interests while using the rhetoric of cooperation and strategic partnership in order to masque its true intentions," Agar added.

    He also speculated that the US actually intends to use both Turkish and Kurdish forces to liberate the city of Raqqa, the so called capital of Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) – a scenario that Turkey simply cannot agree to.

    "A joint military action with the YPG would mean at least partial recognition of its legitimacy by Ankara. Therefore, Turkey does not agree with this plan and is offering its own ideas to liberate Raqqa. At this time Turkey and the US have been unable to reach an agreement on concrete measures in this operation, thus perpetuating a state of uncertainty," Agar concluded.


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    alliance, interests, military operation, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Manbij, Turkey, Syria, Raqqa
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