Free Syrian Army surrounds al-Bab town in Islamic State fight

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan late Tuesday told U.S. President Donald Trump that Washington should cease its support for the terrorist PKK's Syrian affiliate the PYD/YPG, according to presidential sources.

White House confirmed the phone conversation and said that the two Presidents "shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms" as the President welcomed Turkey's efforts in fighting against Islamic State. Reports state that a prominent professor who was opposed to the planned constitutional changes giving President Tayyip Erdogan greater executive powers, Ibrahim Kaboglu, was among the ones ousted in the decree.

The Turkish Armed Forces also hit 254 Daesh targets in northern Syria, said the General Staff statement.

Turkey said on Wednesday, after the phone call, that it was looking to push towards Raqqa in northern Syria in the next stage of its almost half-year military operation. The Turkish government has also expressed vocal in its criticism of former President Barack Obama's "shameful" support for the Kurdish fighters, who have launched an operation to retake the Isis-controlled Raqqa, the capital of the so-called Islamic caliphate in Syria.

"Our first goal is to complete the operation in Al-Bab".

"As regional countries, as countries inside the coalition, we can put our special forces in, we need to put them in", Cavusoglu said.

The YPG Kurdish militia is part of the SDF alliance.

Although Turkish troops have succeeded in clearing Turkey's borders of IS, the battle for al-Bab has proved a lot tougher both militarily and diplomatically, with Turkey and the United States at odds over the mission and its conduct.

During the USA presidential campaign, Trump referred in glowing terms to Erdogan's handling of a failed coup attempt that shook Turkey last summer.

The Turkish sources said new CIA Director Mike Pompeo would visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss the YPG, and battling the network of US -based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating a July coup attempt. Erdogan also complained that the U.S.in the past showed little support for the campaign against the Islamic State. The US president said during the conversation that he sees Turkey as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally and a partner in the global war against ISIS terror.

Turkey wants the cleric, Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.

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