The Latest: Erdogan tells Obama that Ankara targeting Raqqa

AP News
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Posted: Oct 27, 2016 7:42 AM
The Latest: Erdogan tells Obama that Ankara targeting Raqqa

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Turkey's president is telling his American counterpart that Turkey is ready to kick the Islamic State group out of their capital Raqqa in Syria.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey-backed opposition fighters inside Syria will eventually reach Raqqa after securing the towns of al-Bab and Manbij.

"Last night we had a long conversation with Obama and shared our plans with him . We said, 'Come let's kick Daesh out of Raqqa together,' " he said referring to the Arabic acronym for the IS group. Erdogan added that he urged that the operation take place without involvement of Syrian Kurdish forces.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish militias an extension of its own outlawed Kurdish rebels, though the U.S. regards them as the most effective ground force in the fight against IS.

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10:15 a.m.

The U.N. Children's agency says airstrikes in Syria's rebel-held northern Idlib province a day earlier may be the deadliest attack on a school since the country's war began nearly six years ago, leaving 22 children and six of their teachers killed.

A team of first responders, the Syrian Civil Defense, and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday that the Wednesday airstrikes killed at least 35, mostly children, when they struck in the village of Hass around midday. Initially, the estimated death toll was at 22. The airstrikes hit in a residential area housing a school complex, as children gathered outside.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake called the airstrikes an "outrage." He added if it is determined that the airstrikes were deliberate, "it is a war crime."