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Turkey-backed forces making 'serious progress' in Syria - FM

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 01:24

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Syrian rebels and Turkish special forces have together made significant gains in northern Syria in the fight against Islamic State. Saskia O'Donoghue reports.

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Syrian rebels and Turkish special forces have made big progress in the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, Turkey's Foreign Minister said Wednesday. Speaking in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the next target would be Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. SOUNDBITE (English) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER, MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, SAYING: "The al-Bab operation must be completed immediately in the period ahead. In recent days, as you know, our special forces and the Free Syrian Army (rebels) have made serious progress. Air support from coalition forces and support from Russia have contributed greatly to our operation against Islamic State. We want to complete this operation as soon as possible." Turkey's military says Syrian rebels have seized control of key hills around the Islamic State-controlled town of al-Bab. Al-Bab has been a major target of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria, launched last August to drive IS away from the border. Earlier Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan spoke to U.S. counterpart Donald Trump. The two agreed to join forces against IS, but there's one big stumbling block. Washington backs the Kurdish YPG militia, which is also fighting IS. But Ankara views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. President Trump has said he's committed to combatting terrorism in all forms. How he plans to resolve the Kurdish question though, that's far from clear.

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Turkey-backed forces making 'serious progress' in Syria - FM

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 - 01:24