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Turkey: Send US Special Forces to northern Syria

Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says the proposed move would help moderate Syrian opposition forces fight against Daesh
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu addresses the delegates at the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany on February 19, 2017 [Ahmet Gumus - Anadolu Agency]
MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 19 : Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a panel discussion within the "Munich Security Conference" in Munich, Germany on February 19, 2017. ( Turkish Foreign Ministry / Ahmet Gumus - Anadolu Agency )

Turkey proposed that the US should send its own Special Forces to northern Syria to back moderate opposition forces fighting against Daesh, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday.

In his address to the Munich Security Conference, Cavusoglu called on the US and other allies to end their support for the terrorist PKK’s Syrian offshoot, PYD, and instead support the moderate opposition forces in a stronger way.

“Two days ago [US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Gen. [Joseph] Dunford was in Ankara to discuss all these technical issues. Yes, we proposed to the US to put their Special Forces on the ground to support the local moderate forces,” he said.

Cavusoglu underlined that the right group to support in the fight against Daesh should be the Syrian moderate opposition forces instead of the PYD/YPG, which are affiliated with the terrorist group PKK seeking an independent state.

“Cooperating with a terrorist organisation in our fight against another terrorist organisation is very dangerous,” he said.

“That is the mistake the previous administration in the US made. They gave weapons to YPG and PKK got some of the weapons. And PKK used those weapons in their terrorist attacks in Turkey,” he said.

Cavusoglu highlighted the success of the Syrian moderate opposition forces in the Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield in which Free Syrian Army fighters liberated significant areas along the Turkish border from Daesh, including large parts of Al-Bab in Syria’s Aleppo province.

“We are about to take back Al-Bab. After Al-Bab, we can take back Raqqah together,” he said, referring to the stronghold of the terrorist group Daesh in northern Syria.

The Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield began in late August 2016 to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets.

Cavusoglu called on partners from the anti-Daesh international coalition to send their special forces for the planned ground offensive to retake Raqqah.

“Why are we relying on a terrorist organisation in our fight?” he asked, referring to the US military’s support for the PKK/PYD terror under ex-President Barack Obama’s administration, which saw the group as its ground ally against Daesh in Syria.

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“We are 65 countries in the coalition against Daesh, and only Turkey has 600,000 troops. Are 65 countries not strong enough, or vigilant enough to defeat one terrorist organisation Daesh, and we rely on another terrorist organisation?” he asked.

Cavusoglu underlined that PKK/PYD’s main interest was not to defeat Daesh, but to gain more territory and to create its own cantons or an independent state.

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