10:18 GMT24 November 2020
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    Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik claimed Thursday he warned US Defense Secretary James Mattis against resorting to help of Kurdish forces while conducting the operation to reclaim the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh terrorists.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Mattis has been warned of unspecified consequences if Kurdish forces are allowed to participate in liberating the city of Syria’s city of Raqqa, according to remarks by  Isik following a meeting between the two defense chiefs.

    "Amongst the issues that we tackled today with the secretary of Defense was the fact that we do not want PYD and YPG elements to be used in operation Raqqa," Isik told reporters in Washington, DC. On Thursday. "We were very frank in our deliberations during the meeting."

    PYD and YPG are acronyms for US-backed Kurdish rebel organizations in northern Syria, which have provided effective ground forces battling Daesh terror group (outlawed in Russia). Daesh has made Raqqa  its capital.

    Isik explained that Turkey views PYD, PYG militias linked to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, and stressed they may cause problems in the long term perspective.

    “I have communicated this message to [former US Defense] Secretary Carter and Secretary Mattis,” Isik added. “We were very friendly in tackling these issues, and we do agree upon the fact that we need further revising of those issues.’’

    The Turkish Defense Minister called the meeting with Mattis "fruitful," and said that the two sides discussed various issues, including US missile strike in Syria last week and counter terrorism efforts, among other topics.

    Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesperson Col. John Dorrian said on Wednesday that the US-led coalition against Daesh remains open to Turkey’s participation in the operation to liberate Raqqa.

    On April 1, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara presented to US President Donald Trump a plan for liberating Raqqa from Daesh terrorists.


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