Kurdish YPG will be part of efforts to isolate Raqqa: U.S. commander

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, briefs Pentagon reporters live via video conference, Oct. 26, 2016.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kurdish YPG militia fighters will be a part of the force to isolate the Islamic State-held Syrian city of Raqqa, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said on Wednesday.

The United States regards the YPG as an ally in its fight against Islamic State, but Turkey regards it as a terrorist organization because of its links with Kurdish militants fighting a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.

“The only force that is capable on any near term timeline are the Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the YPG are a significant portion,” said Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend in a news briefing. “We’ll move soon to isolate Raqqa with the forces that are ready to go.”

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