Raqqa operation: US confirms Kurdish participation, ‘erratic’ Turkey harmful

Anti-IS (Islamic State) operation ‘Inherent Resolve’ spokesman Col. John Dorrian said that while Kurdish participation in the Raqqa operation was confirmed, discussions were continuing as to what role the Turkish army would be.

“With regard to the Kurds and whether they will be involved in liberating Raqqa, we do expect that they will be involved,” Dorrian told journalists gathered at the Defense Department via videophone from Baghdad, adding, “we continue working with the Syrian Democratic Forces”.

To a follow up question on Turkish participation in the same operation, Dorrian responded, “we haven’t come to an agreement about what that role will be or if there will be one. It has yet to be determined.”

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin claimed yesterday that the US had not made up its mind on how it was going to conduct the Raqqa operation, telling journalists that the plan was still being discussed.

On the same day government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus asked, “who can they choose [to conduct Raqqa operation with]? On the one hand you have 3-5 thousand YPG terrorists, and on the other hand you have a 79-million-strong stable country like Turkey.”

With Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria seemingly hitting a dead end after the capture of al-Bab, the Turkish government’s fate in the country is now in the hands of the other main forces active on the ground.

Turkey is continuing to petition both Russia and the US to be given some sort of role in the Raqqa operation at the expense of Kurdish forces.

Russian expert Andrey Boldyrev, however, believes Turkey’s erratic Syrian policy is harming efforts for a solution to the crisis in the country. “Turkey is supposedly a guarantor of the ceasefire in the Astana process. But it is organising meetings for opposition leaders in its country. All this because Ankara does not want to collaborate with the Syrian Kurds,” Boldyrev told Sputnik News.

With Turkish president Erdogan’s recent trip to Moscow bearing very little fruit and consistently disheartening statements coming from US officials, Turkish efforts seem to be in vain.