Turkish official: US arming Kurds 'unacceptable'

Turkish official: US arming Kurds 'unacceptable'

"We can not accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state", Canikli told A Haber television. The spokesman for the USA -led coalition against IS, Col. John Dorrian, said US troops were about 6 miles from the strikes and put American forces at risk.

"You cannot be in the same sack with terror organizations". "It's Europe's southern border, and we'll stay closely connected", Mattis told reporters during a visit to Lithuania.

US special operations forces are embedded with the Kurdish-led fighters known as the Syrian Democratic Forces as they prepare for battle around Raqqa.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The Kurds in Syria have proved to be the most effective fighters in the country against the Islamic State and they will play a critical role in liberating Raqqa, the militant group's de facto capital in Syria.

"The argument that a ground operation in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State) would be successful only with YPG has nothing to do with reality", he said.

"But we will work it out".

Washington hasn't yet made a final decision on this issue, but all actions of the USA show that this plan will be implemented, he added.

MHP general secretary Ismet Buyukataman said: "This decision is a clear threat and without a doubt a sign of enmity".

According him, the most important topics that are expected to be discussed by Trump and Erdogan will be related to the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, who resides in the U.S., and is accused of involvement in the July military coup attempt in Turkey.

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The CHP made similar demands of Erdogan.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had "completely liberated" the town and its nearby dam, which are 40km (25 miles) west of IS-stronghold Raqqa. "If there is a decision otherwise, this will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the U.S. as well", Yildirim said, speaking at a news conference in Ankara before departing for London.

"The US decision to arm the YPG.is important and will hasten the defeat of terrorism", a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Wednesday.

If the SDF has been victorious in Tabqa, it will open up a new route to Raqqa, the BBC World Service's Middle East editor Alan Johnston said.

The Kurds had already received a lot of weaponry, and some limited armored vehicles from the United States before, and this move eliminates restrictions on what more will be sent.

The rebuke came a week before President Tayyip Erdogan is due in Washington for his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, who approved the arms supply to support a campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State.

The growing US involvement in Syria's civil war stands in sharp contrast to the caution adopted by former President Barack Obama and has alarmed officials in Damascus and its backers in Tehran.

"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey", she said.

Spokeswoman White later said Mattis had spoken with Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik and reassured him of US commitment to protecting its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally. However, the USA considers the Syrian Kurdish forces a great ally in the fight against ISIS. Turkish officials said they were "upset" seeing USA flags flying with the YPG's at its doorstep.

The weapons will include machine guns, ammunition and mortars. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the move is designed "to assure a clear victory over ISIS" in Raqqa.

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