MILITARY

US chief of staff to visit Turkey for talks on Raqqa

Turkey's defense minister says the U.S. chief of staff, Gen. Joe Dunford, will arrive in Turkey on Friday for talks on a possible joint operation to recapture the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

Fikri Isik told reporters in Brussels that Dunford's visit to Ankara would help Washington assess whether Turkey and the United States could act jointly.

Turkey strongly objects to Syrian Kurdish fighters' participation in any operation to liberate Raqqa. It is pressing the U.S. to stop supporting Syrian Kurdish groups that Ankara considers to be "terrorists" because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

Isik said the impression he had from meetings with U.S. officials was that the new U.S. administration does not intend to use Syrian Kurdish forces to retake Raqqa.