Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

Syrian activists Airstrikes on IS-held areas kill dozens

FRAUGHT RELATIONSHIPErdogan, who had a fraught relationship with former President Barack Obama, said his meeting with Trump at the White House next week would be decisive.

Where they differ is on the role of YPG militants in the operation to take Raqqa.

The Turkish government opposes the US plan to provide equipment including mortars and armored cars to the Kurdish militia group YPG in Syria, which it regards as a terrorist group linked to the separatist Kurdish PKK in southeast Turkey.

Just how soon will this alliance start taking action? It's a country we have to work with, but they've done things that made our mission more hard.

In this April 6, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., after the US fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria.

Ties have also been strained by Turkey's demand for the extradition of USA -based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Turkey blames for last year's failed coup attempt.

"The United States is still going through a transition period".

As for the United States, the specific problem that Trump and Secretary of Defense James Mattis sought to address with the new order is that ISIL fighters drive into the middle of advancing enemy troops in Toyota trucks bearing improvised explosive devices, which they detonate to devastating effect. DYNAMITE But hopes for rapprochement took a hit last week.

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SDF commanders announced the looming assault at a news conference in Tabqa, which the alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters captured from IS on Wednesday along with the nearby dam in one of their most important victories yet.

"Instead, we say [to Turkey's allies] it would be rational to cooperate with Turkey, which is the only regional country with economic and political stability", he added.

On May 9th, the Trump administration made public its plan to provide the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with substantial heavy weaponry. James Jeffrey, former USA ambassador to Turkey and Iraq, argues in an April 10 Foreign Policy Magazine piece that the US should have gone with Turkey on the Raqqa operation.

Kurdish officials have never said anything about conquering Raqqa for somebody else, and it would be unusual for the group to be willing to commit so heavy to the invasion of a city if they didn't have designs on incorporating it into their self-declared autonomous region. "After that we will make our final decision".

"Turkey may prefer to wait and see, knowing that even the capture of Raqqa won't eradicate Islamic State, and the war will linger for years and years". Washington is concerned by rising anti-Americanism in Turkey that Erdogan's government has tolerated since the July coup attempt. Not only does Turkey have a greater stake in defeating Islamic State and ending the civil war on its southern border, but drifting away from the West and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation toward Russia's orbit would result in an economic disaster for a nation whose economy is looking increasingly vulnerable. But that would hamper operations against jihadis who also menace Turkey and have claimed responsibility for attacks including the bombing of Istanbul airport in June 2016.

The Turks fear any weapons the USA provides the Syrian Kurds could well end up with their ethnic brethren in Turkey, who've fought violently as part of a separatist insurgency for more than three decades.

Erdogan has responded to the arms announcement with typical bellicosity, raising concerns he will step up attacks on anti-government Turkish Kurds.

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