Turkey Prepared To Conduct Joint Attack With US Against ISIS In Raqqa

In a statement on Friday, the Turkish military said one of its tanks was hit by ISIL fighters around 12:20pm local time, near the Syrian town of Tel el-Hawa.

The offensive saw Turkish warplanes, tanks, artillery and special forces, as well as the Free Syrian Army push Daesh out of Jarablus and ensure that Kurdish fighters do not expand territories under their control to the west of the Euphrates.

Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad and his government, says Turkey's advance south threatens Syria's sovereignty. It has also said it would support any US initiative to strike Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa, further to the southeast.

On the sidelines of the G20 summit in China, Turkish President Erdogan told the press it "would not be a problem" to join the United States in its campaign to eradicate Islamic State terrorists firmly established in Raqqa, their Syrian stronghold.

Turkish hesitation would allow Islamic State and Kurdish "terrorist organizations" to settle there, Erdogan said.

Turkey, which is battling a Kurdish insurgency at home, launched an incursion into northern Syria last month with the stated aims of clearing Islamic State from its border and preventing the Kurdish YPG militia expanding into new territory. "From now on, we have to demonstrate our presence in the region", he said.

The new fatalities come after three Turkish soldiers were killed in a rocket attack by IS this week.

Mr Canikli also said 110 Islamic State and Kurdish militia fighters had been killed since the operation began. This Kurdish contingent has several hundred USA special operators embedded with them on the battlefield, and led one of the most successful US offensives against an ISIS held town on the Turkish border.

Turkey has been alarmed by U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia which Ankara sees as a "terrorist" group linked to its own Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has been waging a bloody campaign against the Turkish state. Turkey fears that a strong Kurdish entity in Syria would aid and embolden PKK fighters who have been fighting against the Turkish military for decades.

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