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Turkey ready to join US to recapture Raqqa

Turkey is in favour of joint military action with the US to capture the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh, the country's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Speaking to reporters on his way back from the G20 summit, Erdogan said that Turkey was open to the idea reportedly floated by US President Barack Obama to recapture Daesh's de facto Syrian capital.

Reuters reported that the conversation to capture Raqqa was mooted in a conversation on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in China with Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders.

"We stated that [joint action] would not be a problem from our perspective. We said, 'Let our soldiers come together, whatever is necessary will be done'," Erdogan said.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 after pro-democracy demonstrations were violently dispersed by President Bashar Al-Assad.

Iran has supported Al-Assad since the start of the war, alongside its Shia proxies such as the Lebanese Hezbollah

Separately, Erdogan also called for international support for a 40 mile "safe zone" in Syria along Turkey's border that will incorporate a no-fly zone. However, this was rebuffed in comments made yesterday by Obama's national security adviser, Ben Rhodes.

"A no-fly zone would necessarily be contained to one specific area, and we have problems and violence across [Syria]," Rhodes said.

In addition to dealing with the fallout from the failed coup last July, Erdogan launched an offensive into Syria against Daesh and Kurdish militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) two weeks ago in order to secure the Turkish-Syrian border.

A major sticking point in any future joint action between the two NATO allies will be their opposing views on Kurdish groups in Syria.

Although Washington supports the YPG and PYD against Daesh, Ankara considers the Kurdish militants to be the Syrian franchise of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), separatists who have fought a bloody insurgency in Turkey for over three decades.

The PKK are considered by Turkey, the US and the EU to be a terrorist organisation.

Asia & AmericasEurope & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSyriaTurkeyUS
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