Turkey demands USA reverse decision to arm Syrian Kurds

US-backed rebels say they wrested key Syrian city from ISIS

US-backed rebels say they wrested key Syrian city from ISIS

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who will meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington next week, has voiced hopes Washington might reverse the decision.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces seized control of Tabqa and the adjacent dam", Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.

Coalition spokesman Col. John Dorrian says the capture of Tabqa is "yet another victory" for the Kurdish-led forces - one that also averted a humanitarian disaster.

White said the US prioritizes its support for the Arab elements of the SDF.

In response, the USA -led coalition has focused its air and artillery strikes on eliminating those defenses and the construction equipment that ISIS uses to build them, Dorrian said.

Warplanes from the US-led coalition have pounded Tabqa and nearby IS positions for weeks as part of the SDF s flagship offensive for Raqa.

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"Weapons given to the YPG end up in the hands of the PKK". Turkey views both as Syrian affiliates of the PKK terror group that has fought a 33-year war against the state and is also listed as a terror organization by the US and EU.

"I hope very much that this mistake will be reversed immediately", Erdogan said.

"We believe the U.S.is really interested in that", Lavrov said, acknowledged details of the plan still needed to be worked out.

"We agree 100 percent with Turkey's concern about PKK. and we support Turkey in its fight against PKK as a fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member", Mattis said. "Otherwise, the outcome won't only affect Turkey, a negative outcome will also emerge for the United States", he said. "We want to know that our allies will side with us and not with terror organizations", he said.

In response to the Turkish remarks, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said he was confident Washington would be able to resolve tensions with Turkey over the the issue.

It remains to be seen what shadow the issue will cast over the talks between Trump and Erdogan, which have been touted as chance to forge a new partnership between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

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Speaking on a joint press conference with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma in Ankara, Erdogan said" A terrorist group can not be defeated with another one,"quoted by local private broadcaster NTV.

The timing of the announcement was especially delicate as a high-level Turkish delegation including Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and Turkey's spy chief Hakan Fidan had been in the U.S. laying the groundwork for the meeting.

The Turks will be notified about the decision on arming Syrian Kurdish forces soon and the Pentagon expects a strong reaction. "We do not ever give weapons to the PKK".

Earlier, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also denounced the US move, saying "every weapon that reaches the (Kurds') hands is a threat to Turkey".

The PKK has been waging a bloody armed campaign since 1994 that has left thousands of dead, and is deemed a terrorist organization by both Ankara and its western allies. "They only have different names", he said. Jets carrying out air strikes against the jihadist group have flown from Turkey's Incirlik air base. 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.

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