Erdogan agrees to US-Turkish collaboration in Syria

Turkey is to collaborate with the United States in efforts to force extremist group Islamic State from their de facto Syrian capital, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, according to the Hurriyet daily.

US President Barack Obama expressed to the Turkish leader his hopes to "take action" over Islamic State's presence in al-Raqqa, Erdogan said during his return flight from the Group of 20 summit in China Hurriyet reported.

"We said there was no problem with that from our perspective," Erdogan said, adding that he told the US leader "if our soldiers are to meet, then we will do what is necessary."

US efforts to drive Islamic State militants out of al-Raqqa in north-eastern Syria have seen them allied with Kurdish fighters, which are rivalled with Turkey.

Turkey's troops crossed the border into Syria last month with the aim of pushing back Islamic State troops and also preventing Kurdish militias from gaining further ground.

Russia harshly criticized Turkey's military actions in Syria on Wednesday, saying they have the potential to further destabilize the situation.

Turkey's actions "deep within Syria" are being conducted without the approval of the Syrian government or the United Nations and are jeopardizing international efforts to resolve the conflict as well as distribute humanitarian aid to civilians, Russia's Foreign Ministry said.

Russia and Turkey have only begun to rebuild their relations in recent weeks after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border last year.

Last update: Wed, 07/09/2016 - 16:10

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