Turkey is offering to “join forces” with Washington for a special operation inside Syria on condition it doesn’t include a Syrian Kurdish armed force blacklisted by Ankara but seen as an ally by the US, the foreign minister said.
Washington’s support of Kurdish fighters in Syria in the fight against ISIL terrorists has angered Ankara, especially after AFP pictures last week revealed US commandos sporting patches of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) detested by Turkey.
“If we join forces, they (the US) have their own special forces and we have our special forces,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a small group of journalists in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya.
Such a coalition could “easily” head to ISIL’ de facto capital in Raqa to the south in a second front, he claimed.
There was no immediate reaction to the proposal from the United States, whose strategy for fighting terrorists inside Syria is pinned on its alliance with the battle-hardened Syrian Kurds.
The US is supporting an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as the most effective fighting force on the ground against ISIL.
But the SDF is still dominated by the YPG, which Turkey sees as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Cavusoglu said Syrian terrorists could be backed up with special forces from Turkey, the United States as well as from France, Britain and Germany.