US says coalition forces could not have succeeded in Syria without Turkey

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General Joseph Votel, Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)

Commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Joseph Votel, said on Wednesday that the US-led coalition forces could not have achieved what they have in Syria as of today without Turkey’s support.

Speaking at a panel discussion at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., Votel said the recent takeover of Syria’s symbolically important town of Dabiq by Turkey-backed Syrian rebels from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants was an “important operation.”

He also underlined that the US and Turkey’s support for the anti-ISIL coalition has allowed recent advances against ISIL, adding that bases and other facilities in Turkey were crucial to the US.

According to Votel, the operation to retake Iraq’s city of Mosul from ISIL could last more than one year and include some bloody combat.

The operation we did to Manbij, in northern Syria, took about 71 days to complete, from start to finish,” he said, adding that Raqqa, the self-proclaimed ISIL capital, is about three times the size of Manbij and Mosul is about three times the size of Raqqa.

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