United States defense chief voices commitment to Turkey's security

Ankara strongly opposes USA support of the YPG, viewing it as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.

President Donald Trump approved arming the Syrian Kurdish militia this week to support the USA -led offensive in Raqqa.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim meanwhile told reporters that Turkey can not accept "direct or indirect" support for the PKK, and that the US should not try to use one terrorist group to defeat another.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on the country's allies to "side with Ankara and not with terrorist organisations".

That decision, announced Tuesday, has led to public statements of anger from Turkey, which says the US-backed Kurdish YPG fighters battling the Islamic State group in Syria are linked to its own domestic Kurdish separatist group the PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party.

With air strikes and special forces from the USA -led coalition, the SDF have been advancing on Raqqa, Islamic State's base of operations in Syria, to isolate and ultimately seize the city.

He added that the London conference will review that work and take measures for further peace and development.

Last month, Erdogan said if Turkey and the United States joined forces, they could turn Raqa into a "graveyard" for jihadists.

"Every weapon that reaches their hands is a threat towards Turkey", Mr Cavusoglu said.

The U.S. will arm members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), who are fighting with the SDF, wrote the BBC News. The Kurdish elements will receive small arms, ammunition, heavy machine guns and weapons capable of taking out "heavily-armored vehicle-borne IEDs (improvised explosive devices)", Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told The Daily Caller News Foundation, but will not be provided with anti-aircraft weaponry.

The post Erdogan urges USA to "immediately" reverse decision on arming Syrian Kurds appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.

The Trump administration has not specified the kinds of arms to be provided.

The YPG said the United States commitment to the group, and its umbrella coalition the Syrian Democratic Forces, will allow it to expand its operations against IS.

She also said that Washington was "keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey".

The US-led coalition said a first consignment of weapons was already in place for delivery and could be dispatched to the Kurds "very quickly".

The SDF, an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, on Wednesday recaptured the city, which sits on the Euphrates River and on a strategic supply route about 55 kilometers west of Raqqah, Daesh's stronghold in Syria.

Since then, Turkey is believed to have positioned more than 5,000 troops in northern Syria, and has escalated its airstrikes and cross border artillery attacks against the Kurdish forces.

Information for this article was contributed by Sarah El Deeb, Lolita C. Baldor and Bob Burns of The Associated Press.

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