Syrian President Bashar Assad said US President-elect Donald Trump will become a “natural ally” if he carries out his vow to battle “terrorists.” “We cannot tell anything about what he’s going to do, but if… he is going to fight the terrorists, of course we are going to be allies, natural ally in that regard with the Russian, with the Iranian, with many other countries,” said Assad, RTP reported.
The SDF on Sunday announced the start of operations to deny IS its so-called caliphate by liberating the northern Syrian town, while Iraqi forces simultaneously continue their advance on Mosul. SDF spokesman Talal Sello claimed on Sunday it had brokered a deal with Washington “that there will be no role for Turkey or the armed factions allied with it in the operation” to capture Raqqa. However later on Sunday, US chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Joe Dunford, met with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, and confirmed the NATO allies “will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa”. He added that Raqqa’s capture could not go ahead “without incorporating the Turks and their perspective into our plans”. “Obviously as a close ally, we really just want to make sure that we’re completely tight as we work through some challenging issues,” he said.