Ankara has been working on a detailed operation plan against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syrian city of Al Bab, but does not have any military plans regarding Raqqa yet, İbrahim Kalın, spokesman for Pesident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said.
“We did not participate in the operation against ISIL in Manbij but we supported it. We had only one condition. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) will not enter and stay there. The same condition is valid for Raqqa as well. We don’t have a military plan about Raqqa yet. We have been acting with the international coalition.” said Kalın, in response to a question asking what would Turkey’s response be if the US had told Turkey PYD would enter Raqqa and asked Turkey to join the fight against ISIL there.
Kalın’s remarks came during an interview published in Haber Türk daily on Tuesday.
Kalın also added that Turkey has neither received any negative message from Russia about a possible operation against Raqqa nor Ankara has spoken to Moscow about Raqqa.
“They see Raqqa in the operation area of the international coalition led by the US. Russia focuses more on Aleppo region due to their support to the regime.”
But Kalın did not rule out a military operation plan against Al Bab: “There is a concentrated ISIL activity there and they [ISIL militants] have reached a certain number. Therefore, a broader and careful plan will be put in practice.”
To another question asking about the date of the operation against Al Bab, Kalın
said there is not yet a timetable.
The presidential spokesperson also underlined that Turkey’s operation called Euphrates Shield which was launhed on Aug. 24 has ended the legend that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the only force fighting against ISIL and it has also proven that moderate opposition can be influential against ISIL when it is strongly supported.