Erdogan and Trump talk al-Bab, Raqqa, Syria safe-zones: Turkish sources

Turkish officials said on Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone conversation with US President Donald.

According to Dogan News Agency (DHA), presidential sources said the two presidents talked for 45 minutes and agreed to act together in Syrian cities el-Bab and Raqqa.

The two leaders reportedly also discussed safe zones in Syria and the refugee crisis.

Turkey’s military venture in al-Bab seems troubled and they have not participated in the Raqqa operation where the US has relied on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its most important component, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a choice that has angered Ankara much.

The sources said CIA Director Mike Pompeo was to visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss the YPG and Turkish cleric and former ally of Erdogan, Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of being the mastermind behind the 15 July coup attempt.

Turkish media outlets published a now erased tweet by Mike Pompeo in which he declared Turkey a “totalitarian Islamist dictatorship” and reminded its readers of a video of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in which he holds a speech on the eve of the coup where he expresses support of the overthrow of Erdogan.

President Donald Trump was said to have ditched the Obama plan to retake Raqqa and a new one was said to be developed by the Trump administration. However, US-supplied armoured vehicles were delivered to the SDF on Tuesday last week.

A statement from the White House on Wednesday confirmed the phone call but did not mention the claims regarding the Raqqa operation made by Turkish sources.