Alwaght- A major rift has emerged between the US and Turkey, both NATO allies, after Ankara rejected the involvement of Syrian Kurds in the Raqqa offensive.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said his country will not join a US-led campaign to liberate ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa if it involves the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party Kurdish PYD.
Any operation to capture Raqqah should involve “moderate opposition” forces in Syria, he added.
“Turkey will also support such an operation,” Kurtulmus told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency. “However, if you are saying ‘We will bring in the PYD while taking ISIS away’, Turkey will never allow it. We will not be involved in such an operation.”
He added: “If peace is not established in Syria, there will be no regional peace. And if there is no regional peace, there will be no global peace.”
Turkey views the PYD and its militant wing, YPG, which has been a key force fighting ISIS terrorists in northern Syria, as linked to the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which operates in Turkey and Iraq. Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist organization and blames it for being behind the Kurdish insurgency in eastern Turkish regions. The US has designated PKK as a terrorist group, while supporting the YPG in Syria.
The US Department of Defense on Wednesday confirmed that US aircraft airlifted some fighters from Syrian Democratic Forces, a multinational Kurdish-dominated group.