Turkey humiliated by US decision to arm Kurds

The Trump administration has not specified the kinds of arms to be provided, but USA officials have indicated that 120mm mortars, machine guns, ammunition and light armored vehicles were possibilities.

However, the USA has used the PKK/PYD as its ally in Syria in combatting Daesh. US forces have also patrolled the Syria-Turkey border to discourage Turkish attacks on the Kurdish militia.

Turkey, the US and other Western allies view the PKK as a terrorist group.

Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) stand guard at the site of Turkish airstrikes near the northeastern Syrian Kurdish town of Malikiyah on April 25, 2017.

Ankara views the YPG as one and the same as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Turkey, which the USA also designates a terrorist group.

Turkey has lashed out at Washington's plan to send arms to Kurdish rebels fighting ISIS in Syria, calling for an end to a strategy that has long rattled officials in Ankara.

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An Islamic State fighter fires his weapon during clashes with USA -backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa.

A top Syrian Kurdish official says the US decision to arm Kurdish fighters with heavier weapons will help legitimize the force, which is denounced as a terrorist organization by Turkey. "This policy will not bring any benefit to anybody", Canikli told Turkey's A Haber news channel. He did not expect any significant blowback from Ankara, as "there's not really much they can do".

"We do not envision (that) a long-term YPG presence and governance in the city is acceptable or consistent with the wishes of the local population", she said.

His comments came a day after Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said that the United States wants to reassure the people and government of Turkey that it is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

A top Syrian Kurdish official says the US decision to arm Kurdish fighters with heavier weapons will help legitimize the force, which is denounced as a terrorist organization by Turkey. You say "we are friends and allies" but then perform actions that are not in line with friendship. But Ilham Ahmed warned it would likely be met with "aggression" from Turkey.

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Also concerned about the growing US presence is northern Syria is Iran, which has bankrolled the presence of thousands of Shiite militiamen in Syria to bolster Assad's military and seeks to secure a land route from Beirut to Tehran that goes through Damascus and Baghdad.

"We will work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border", he told reporters during a visit to Lithuania.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed Wednesday Washington's decision to arm a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), saying it "unacceptable".

Last month, Erdogan said if Turkey and the USA joined forces, they could turn Raqa into a "graveyard" for jihadists. "Otherwise, the outcome won't only affect Turkey, a negative outcome will also emerge for the United States".

He said Washington is well aware that Ankara is against using the PKK terror group to eradicate Daesh in Syria.

"Last year, Turkey's operation Euphrates Shield was not only targeting ISIL positions in that area but was aimed at weakening Kurdish forces along that border".

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