Erdogan says Syria's Raqqa will 'turn into a graveyard' for Islamic State

Tensions escalated this week with cross-border clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG near the Syrian border.

By REUTERS
April 29, 2017 17:14
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 201

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses during an attempted coup in Istanbul, Turkey July 16, 2016.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on the United States and anti-Islamic State coalition on Saturday (April 29) to join hands and turn Syrian city of Raqqa "into a graveyard" for jihadist militants.

Speaking at a business conference in Istanbul, Erdogan reiterated he would try to convince Donald Trump next month that Turkish-backed forces should be used to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State rather than Kurdish militia who Ankara views a terrorist threat.

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Ankara has been pressing the United States to drop its military alliance with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which it views as part of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been fighting an insurgency for three decades in Turkey.

Tensions escalated this week with cross-border clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG near the Syrian border.

The attacks on the YPG, a key member of a US-backed militia fighting Islamic State in Syria, have further complicated Turkey's relations with Washington.

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