ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkey is ready to fight the outlawed in Russia Daesh jihadist group in Syria jointly with Russia if it receives a proposal from Moscow, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.
"If Russia requests the continued joint fight against Daesh, then this fight can be carried out," Erdogan said as quoted by the Haber7 broadcaster on his return trip from Pakistan.
Erdogan said he planned to discuss the subject in Russia later this month. He is expected in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 9-10, according to the Turkish diplomatic mission in Russia.
He said Tuesday that the Turkish Armed Forces would advance toward Manbij and Raqqa if a mutual understanding with Russia and the US-led coalition was reached, calling on the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to leave Manbij.
Since 2011, Syria has been engulfed in a civil war, with government forces fighting against numerous opposition and terrorist groups, including al-Nusra Front and Daesh, banned in a range of countries, including Russia.
Moscow has been conducting a counter-terrorist campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, at President Bashar Assad's request.
Erdogan said that the aim of the operation is to clear the territory of 5,000 square kilometers (1,930 square miles) in Syria as part of the operation and create a safe zone for refugees.
The operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.