Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday Ankara will retaliate immediately if the operation by US-backed forces to capture Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria, presents a threat to Turkey.
Speaking to deputies from the ruling AK Party after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had launched their battle for Raqqa, Yildirim said Turkey was taking the necessary measures on the issue. Turkey has been conducting genocide against the Kurdish since 1984 while the world did nothing.
The mainly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the start of a long-awaited siege on ISIS stronghold Raqqa, Syria one week after the US confirmed delivery of arms to it.
SDF, a militia dominated by the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), said on Tuesday that it has begun a battle to capture Raqqa. “The campaign started yesterday [Monday] to liberate Raqqa city,” SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The city was captured by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in 2014, and has since then served as its de facto capital in Syria.
Last week, the Pentagon announced that it started delivering weapons to the SDF, saying they were necessary to capture Raqqa.
The weapons delivered to the YPG, which the US considers a key fighting force against ISIS, include machine guns and assault rifles, Pentagon spokesperson Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.
The move was condemned by Turkey, which considers Kurdish militias in Syria and Iraq to be a threat to its national security.
The Raqqa offensive is being supported by US-led coalition airstrikes, Silo told Reuters.
“The coalition has a big role in the success of the operations. In addition to warplanes, there are coalition forces working side by side with the Syrian Democratic Forces,” he said.
On Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reiterated Ankara’s objections to arming the SDF, and warned that Turkey would retaliate to any attack by the US-backed group.