US talks to Turkey about role to recapture Raqqa

In this Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 file photo, Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces gather ahead of an operation to re-take the Islamic State-held City of Mosul, outside Irbil, Iraq. (AP)

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said on Wednesday the plan to envelope Raqqa, ISIS’s main stronghold in Syria, would take place soon with the forces available and that talks continued with Turkey on the role it could play “further down the road.”

“We intend to go there soon with the force that is capable of doing that and enveloping the city of Raqqa ... the final seizure of Raqqa, we continue to talk to Turkey about that and a possible role for Turkey in that further down the road,” Carter said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Turkey said on Monday that it wants the operation on Raqqa to start after Mosul and Euphrates Shield operations have been completed.

Iraqi security forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters started the offensive on Mosul on Oct. 17, with air and ground support from the US-led coalition against the militant group.

Also, a spokesman for a leading Shiite militia said its fighters have gained control of a highway linking the ISIS group-held city of Mosul to the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the militants’ self-proclaimed caliphate.

The spokesman for the Hezbollah Brigades, Jaafar al-Husseini, said Wednesday that his troops are now cutting the main supply line to the militants.

(With Reuters, Associated Press)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48