İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO- John McCain who is the chief of Military Committee in US Congress and Republican Senator from Arizona told the President of the CENTCOM, Joseph Votel, that he foresee a train wreck on the road to regain Raqqa as they were not be able to see Turkey’s seriouasness on the issue of PYD/PKK.
Votel and General Thomas Waldhauser, the chief command of US forces in Africa, replied questions of senators.
John McCain who visited Erdoğan recently, reminded Turkish President’s concerns about PKK/PYD and remarked Turkish-Russian rapprochement in international politics then asked General Votel what he thinks about the threat of any confrontation between Turkish-led Free Syrian Army fighters and US-led Kurdish militants. Votel replied as they were aware of the situation and tried to take measures against it.
In the following minutes, Votel admitted Turkey’s great role on the fight against Deash as he said ‘’Turkey is a significant partner. We could not do what we do now unless Turkey’s efforts’’.
Afterwards, McCain interrupted Votel and said ‘’I am not quite sure that Turkey’s concerns about PKK/PYD have been understood ‘’. He added ‘’I am also not sure that you understand Turkey’s probable role of Raqqa operation and others, especially about the usage of İncirlik military base and other operations ‘’. He added ‘’I think unless something will change, I foresee a train wreck on the road and I am not sure government’s understanding of Erdoğan’s concerns about Kurds’’.
Moreover, Lindsay Graham, Senator from South Carolina, highlighted the Marxist-Communist ideology of PYD/YPG and asked ‘’Don’t we have to be more careful about the groups that we fight together as these groups will probably not be supported by the rest of the people in the region?’’. Votel said they are aware of the situation and that’s why they try to have common operations with Arabs too.
Recently, US troops deployed military forces near Manbij to what Pentagon says a “reassure and deter” mission increased tensions with Turkey. Now US decided to deploy additional soldiers and military equipment to Syria for upcoming Raqqa operation. In addition to these, US will send more troops to Kuwait just in case. This led concerns about a proxy war between US-led Kurdish militants and Turkish-led Free Syrian Army fighters.
A spokesperson for US Central Command told to British news agency, the Independent, that a Marine Corps artillery unit would provide “greater agility to enable and expedite our Syrian partnered forces defeat of Isis in Raqqa”. He added “The strategy adopted by the Coalition remains the same – we will continue to work with partnered forces to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria”.He also said “Our partners in Syria face an entrenched foe and like the Iraqis, will require additional support.”
Furthermore, Capt Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said: “It's a visible reminder, for anybody who's looking to start a fight, which the only fight that should be going on right now is with Isis.”
On the other hand, Col John Dorrian, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, asserted that the US was “open to a role for Turkey in the liberation of Raqqa” and would continue discussions on military and diplomatic levels.
There are also other groups in the region as Vladimir Putin’s forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iranian – led Shiite forces.
The fifth round of Geneva Talks in which Isis and al-Qaeda linked extremist groups have been excluded, will start on 23 March.