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Pentagon Chief Vows to Resolve Tensions With Turkey Over US Arming Syrian Kurds

Sputnik News

18:31 10.05.2017(updated 18:43 10.05.2017)

The United States will manage to resolve all tensions with Turkey related to the former's plan to arm "Kurdish elements" of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are engaged in the fight against terrorism in northern Syria, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Tuesday, following the US Defense Department's announcement that President Donald Trump approved a plan to arm YPG, the Syrian Kurdish PYD party's affiliate, fighting Daesh terrorists in Syria, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis ensured his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik over phone of the US commitment to prevent security risks for Turkey.

"We'll work out any of the concerns… We will work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border. It's Europe's southern border, and we'll stay closely connected," Mattis told reporters as quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper.

Ankara considers the YPG, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party's (PYD) military branch, to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terror group in Turkey, the United States and the European Union. However, the PYD and the YPG, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been receiving support from the United States in fighting Daesh in northern Syria.

Turkish leadership has repeatedly expressed regret regarding the attention Russia and the United States are paying to the Syrian Kurds. Russia, in particular, has repeatedly criticized the absence of the Kurds during the talks on the Syrian reconciliation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit the United States to hold a meeting with Trump on May, 16. The two leaders will discuss the particulars of the situation in Syria, Iraq and the larger fight against terrorism.

In November 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which predominately consists of Kurdish fighters, but also includes members of the Syrian Arab Coalition, launched an operation called the Rage of Euphrates in order to seize control over Syrian Raqqa, the de facto Daesh capital, and are now starting the fourth stage of the campaign aimed at liberating the rural areas of Raqqa province from terrorists.

Sputnik



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