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Turkey and United States evaluate options for joint Raqqa operation

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Turkey and the U.S. are discussing options for a joint operation to retake Daesh’s so-called capital of Raqqa, a photo released by the Turkish military has revealed. Turkish military Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar met with his counterparts U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford and Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov in the southern city of Antalya on Tuesday. The Turkish military released photos of the meeting, and in one of the photos, a document can be seen in front of a Turkish general with the title “Raqqa Offensive: Turkey-U.S. joint planning”. The photo revealed that Ankara and Washington are currently evaluating options to draw up a joint plan for the Raqqa offensive. A U.S. commander of the anti-Daesh coalition told reporters last week that military leaders are still discussing Turkey’s participation in the Raqqa operation, and that a decision is yet to be made on whether to include the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the PKK’s Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) armed wing, the YPG in the offensive. Ankara strictly opposes any involvement of the PYD/YPG in the Raqqa operation, as Turkey considers it a terrorist group. Ankara has suggested that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which has successfully liberated Jarablus, Dabiq and al-Bab as part of Turkey-backed Operation Euphrates Shield, lead the operation in cooperation with the Turkish military. The YPG, under the guise of the SDF, is on its way to Raqqa. In fact, according to sources close to the YPG, the terrorist group is positioned only a few kilometers away from Raqqa, a Syrian city on the northeast bank of the Euphrates River. Ankara has claimed that several thousand FSA fighters were ready to engage against Daesh to liberate Raqqa.

 

 

US Secretary of State Kerry and Russia Foreign Minister Lavrov talked about Russia’s renewed fighting in Aleppo

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on October 24 that he is concerned about renewed fighting in the Syrian city of Aleppo after a break of several days, according to the State Department. Lavrov and Kerry discussed the situation in Syria in a phone call and agreed that experts from several countries meeting in Geneva would continue searching for ways to resolve the Aleppo crisis, the department said. During the call, Kerry expressed concern about the renewal of attacks on Aleppo by Syrian government forces and Russian warplanes after a pause in the fighting last week, State Department spokesman John Kirby said. He noted that humanitarian aid had still not made it through to people under siege in Aleppo, because Russia and Syria failed to provide security guarantees to the UN during the pause.

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