*UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM TURKISH FM
ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) - Joint military action between Turkey and the U.S. could help defeat Daesh in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late Sunday.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a conference in Antalya, southern Turkey, Cavusoglu said such an operation could “easily advance to Raqqah”, the group’s stronghold in northern Syria.
The minister criticized the cooperation between the U.S. forces and the terrorist PKK group’s Syrian affiliate, the PYD, with the ostensible aim of preventing Raqqah from being seized by Syrian regime forces, calling it a "wrong move" to join forces with a terrorist group whose only aim, he asserted, was to split Syria.
"In any case it is neither humane nor correct to cooperate with another terrorist group. It is not correct for the future of Syria, either. The PYD's aim is apparent: To get more land and divide Syria," he said, adding that the U.S. was jeopardizing Syria's future by cooperating with the PYD.
Citing images that surfaced Thursday of U.S. troops wearing YPG insignia during an operation in Raqqah, Cavusoglu said: "What they [the U.S.] are doing, is neither honest or nor befitting of an ally.
"It is truly a double standard. The U.S. is our ally, and in Obama's words, our model partner. It should not protect a group which sends terrorists and arms to Turkey."
He suggested Turkey and the U.S. should work together instead.
“Actually if we join forces … we could easily advance to Raqqah after opening a new front on the Jerablus line and clear out the area towards the south and seal the Manbij pocket,” he said.
The Manjib Pocket refers to an area of northern Syria located roughly between the city of Azaz and the Euphrates River, the northern boundary of which is a 98-kilometer (61-mile) stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border. The strategically vital region is currently controlled by the Daesh terrorist group.
“The [Syrian] opposition is already advancing [eastward] along the 98-kilometer-long border area. But due to a lack of support, they have yet to achieve the desired momentum,” he added.
A U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition is currently supporting two offensives against the terrorist group in both Iraq and Syria.
In western Iraq, the Iraqi army is currently attempting to retake the city of Fallujah, while in northern Syria the Syrian Democratic Forces -- which include the PKK-affiliated YPG -- are heading towards Raqqah.
Turkey has designated the YPG as a terrorist group although Washington supports the group as an “effective partner” in the fight against Daesh.