Turkish Cooperation Key in Raqqa Fight

The US-led coalition against ISIS is planning the isolation and retaking of Raqqa, led by local forces, even as the approach on Mosul continues. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking Tuesday at a meeting of the Counter-ISIL Small Group Ministerial meeting in Paris, said the “force that takes Raqqa will have to be a local force—that’s vital to ISIL’s lasting defeat.” The coalition will not consult Russia on this fight, even though that country has a heavy military presence in Syria supporting Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Carter spoke with French Minister of Defense Jean Yves Le Drian, who said the coalition will reach out to Turkey during a meeting of NATO defense ministers tomorrow in Brussels to help with this fight. Turkish-backed forces recently took the strategic town of Dabiq. The coalition and Turkey’s “objectives must coincide” to defeat ISIS, Le Drian said through an interpreter. (See also: “Constant Pressure” Key to Defeating ISIS.)