Backed Kurdish YPG Reveal: US Military to Stay in Syria 'For Decades'

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"They have a strategy policy for decades to come".

About 300 civilians were evacuated from the Islamic State's (IS) de facto capital, Raqqa, on August 17, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces, as fighting in and around the city intensified.

There is "still a lot of fighting to do, even after ISIS has been defeated in Raqqa", Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US -led alliance, told Reuters, noting that the jihadist group still holds strongholds in Syria.

YPG members chat with members of USA forces in the Syrian town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, April 29, 2017. "However we remain committed to the destruction of ISIS and preventing its return".

YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls large swathes of northern Syria where the US -led coalition has stationed forces.

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ISIS troops in Raqqa have been fighting from rooftops, on the ground and in the warren of tunnels they have dug under the city, Dillon said.

Washington has supported the YPG, a homegrown defense force in the Kurdish area of Syria, with equipment and airstrikes.

The U.S. alliance with the SDF and YPG is a major point of contention with neighboring Turkey, a U.S. ally. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the PKK which has been waging a three-decade insurgency in Turkey. It was in March when the then-new USA administration of President Donald Trump began distributing arms to the YPG, ahead of their assault in Raqqa.

On the same day, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said the United States had a "strategic interest" to stay in the the SDF-controlled north - where it already has 10 bases against government wishes - after Isis is defeated.

With air support from the multinational coalition, a Kurdish-Arab alliance on Thursday battled the militants in Raqqa's Old City, of which it now controls 70 percent, the Britain-based group said.

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"Maybe there could be an alternative to their base in Turkey", Silo said, in reference to the Incirlik Air Base.

The coalition says it does not discuss the location of its forces, citing operational security.

The YPG's project in Northern Syria has aimed to transition from the cantons to an autonomous region.

"We're constantly asking them for clear, public political support", Silo said.

In Turkey, meanwhile, Iran's Armed Forces chief of staff held rare talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reportedly focused on the fight against "terror" groups in Syria and Iraq. "There are initiatives for developing political support for our forces, but we hope this will be bigger".

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