Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dropped hints on Wednesday that the United States and Turkey were prepared to invade Raqqa, Syria - the Islamic State’s de facto capital.
Erdogan and President Barack Obama briefly discussed a joint invasion of Raqqa during the G20 summit in China last weekend.
"Obama wants to do some things jointly concerning Raqqa," Erdogan said, according to reports from Turkish media sources. "We said this would not be a problem from our perspective.''
"I said: 'Our soldiers should come together and discuss, then what is necessary will be done,’” the Turkish president said, without adding further details on when further talks would occur.
The U.S. and coalition military forces destroyed two oil pump jacks, an oil tank and a headquarters building near Raqqa on Tuesday, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Three other strikes near Deir Ezzor, close to Syria’s border with Iraq, demolished 13 ISIS oil tanker trucks and a tractor trailer, and strikes near Manbij destroyed an ISIS fighting position.
The Islamic State took over Raqqa in January 2014, after which the group persecuted the city’s religious minorities – including Shiite Muslims, Christians and Yazidis - in addition to perpetrating a myriad of other human rights violations.
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The Syrian army entered Raqqa province in early June with the backing of Russian forces, according to a report by Al-Jazeera citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Russian airstrikes targeted ISIS sites in the Hama province, near its eastern border with Raqqa, to allow the Syrian Army to advance.
“Regime troops backed by Russian air strikes and Russian-trained militia entered Raqqa province on Saturday morning," Rami Abdel Rahman, the human rights group’s director, told the AFP news agency at the time.
The incident marked the first time Syrian troops had entered Raqqa since August 2014.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…