March 9, 2017 / 3:01 PM / 5 months ago

U.S.-backed Syrian force ruled out Turkey role in Raqqa - spokesman

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian militias has told U.S. officials that Turkey must have no role in the campaign to capture the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, its spokesman said on Thursday.

"The Turkish side is an occupation force and it cannot be allowed to occupy more Syrian land," Talal Silo, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, told Reuters. He said the SDF had delivered that message in a meeting with U.S. Senator John McCain and U.S. military officials in northern Syria last month.

Silo also indicated it would be a matter of weeks before the SDF reaches the outskirts of Raqqa, after severing the last main road to the city this week. "We expect that within a few weeks there will be a siege of the city," he said.

Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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