Turkey says Kurdish militia role in Raqqa offensive would endanger Syria

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 US 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 US assurances they would do so. He criticised 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.