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Ankara Urges US to Stop Arming Kurds

Ankara Urges US to Stop Arming Kurds

Monday, 27 November, 2017 - 13:15
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)

Turkey announced on Monday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United States President Donald Trump held a telephone call on Friday, in what was a “changing point” in the tense ties between the two countries.

Washington has to commit to its pledge to stop providing Kurdish Syrian fighters with weapons, added deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag.

“The ‘We will not give weapons’ remarks from a US president for the first time is important, but it will lose value if it is not implemented. It would be deceiving the world,” he continued.

The White House said on Friday that Trump informed Erdogan that Washington was adjusting the military support to partners on the ground in Syria.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting ISIS with the help of a US-led coalition.

A spokesperson for the coalition said on Sunday that it was looking at “adjustments” to the support it provides to the SDF, ranging from the number of advisers to training and artillery.

Weapons provided to Syrian YPG have been limited and mission specific, the spokesperson added.

Ankara has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG militia, seen by Turkey as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terrorist group by Ankara, the United States and European Union.

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