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Can Turkey take on Raqqa before concluding al-Bab?

Turkey is expanding its targets by proposing to partner with the United States at Raqqa before ending its al-Bab operation, a course that is laden with traps.
Turkish military vehicles drive in the Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, as they head towards the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria January 9, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi - RTX2Y60D

Turkey took over the Syrian border town of Jarablus from the Islamic State (IS) with not much effort in August 2016, with the approval of Moscow. Today, however, it is sustaining heavy casualties from unexpected stiff resistance at al-Bab. Nevertheless, Ankara is making strong efforts to participate in an operation to take Raqqa.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in a 45-minute phone call with US President Donald Trump on Feb. 7, just 18 days after Trump took office. Meanwhile, new CIA Director Michael Pompeo made his first trip to Turkey and received the details of Turkey’s proposal.

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