ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that cooperating with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in a potential offensive to retake the Islamic State-controlled city of Raqqa would endanger the future of Syria.
Turkey views the YPG, which has enjoyed U.S. backing in the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, as a hostile force with deep links to Kurdish militants who have fought a three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.
Cavusoglu said some YPG elements still remained in the Syrian city of Manbij west of the Euphrates river, despite Ankara’s repeated warnings that they should withdraw and U.S. assurances they would do so. He criticized Washington’s cooperation with a group he said it was unable to control.
Cavusoglu said Turkey, which launched a military incursion to drive Islamic State off its borders a month ago, had demonstrated that the strategy of supporting local groups could be successful and that this approach could be used in Raqqa or even a planned operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Ece Toksabay; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall