Turkey to launch a new operation in Syrian city of Raqqa

Turkey to launch a new operation in Syrian city of Raqqa

WASHINGTON/ANKARA Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call overnight to act jointly against Islamic State in the Syrian towns of al-Bab and Raqqa, both controlled by the militants, Turkish presidency sources said on Wednesday. President Erdogan pressed Trump not to support the Syrian Kurdish fighters, and to "stand with Turkey" against Gulen's network of supporters, the news agency said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the blast site outside the Besiktas FC's Vodafone Arena Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey, Dec. 12, 2016. "We said it would be a mistake but we were not able to get them to listen", Daily Mail cited Cavusoglu as saying.

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and 15 slightly wounded in the clashes on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning with so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militants in northern Syria, Turkey's military said on Wednesday.

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Few believe the Pentagon will abandon the YPG and its Arab allies, who have proven to be the most effective fighting force against IS on the ground ahead of a planned offensive to seize Raqqa, the jihadis' "capital". His statement came as Turkish troops pushed their offensive against IS into the Sunni Arab town of al-Bab, capturing the strategic Aqil Hill and al-Bab's hospital.

The U.S. president reportedly told Erdogan Washington wished to develop ties with Turkey and to engage in close cooperation with the country on regional issues.

After years of estrangement under Barack Obama over the White House's refusal to forcefully remove Syria's President Bashar al-Assad from power as well as Washington's support for Kurdish paramilitaries, Ankara is hoping to rebuild its relationship with the US. The US president said during the conversation that he sees Turkey as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and a partner in the global war against ISIS terror. Erdogan also asked the US not to provide assistance to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia which Turkey considers as a terrorist organization. Ankara has complained in the past about a lack of US support for that campaign.

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