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Turkey Raises Concerns Over Role Of Syrian Kurds In Operation To Retake Raqqa

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter stands near the rubble of a destroyed building north of Raqqa on November 7.

Turkey says the United States has promised Ankara that U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces will only be involved in a siege of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria, but would not enter the city itself.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said on November 8 that Ankara prefers that "local" Arab forces enter Raqqa, backed by U.S.-led coalition and possibly including Turkish ground troops.

The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a multiethnic opposition alliance led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), announced the start of its campaign to retake Raqqa on November 6.

On November 8, SDF forces were battling IS militants in villages and small towns to the south and north of Raqqa.

The United States considers the YPG militias the most effective force against IS militants in Syria.

But Turkey is dismayed at the prominent role played in the SDF by the Kurdish YPG militia, which it accuses of having ties with Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP