United States to arm Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS

The SDF, a US-backed group dominated by YPG but which also contains Arab elements, said that receiving U.S. arms and military equipment would "hasten the defeat" of the jihadists.

"Both the PKK and the YPG are terrorist organizations and they are no different, apart from their names".

"Within the SDF, Arabs and the YPG should be distinguished and Arab forces should be the ones entering Raqqa", he reportedly added. The U.S. decision to arm the YPG "will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the U.S.as well", Yildirim said.

Tuesday's decision to arm the Kurds is a public rebuff to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a week before he meets Trump in Washington.

In a joint press conference with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, Erdogan said: "Every development in Syria and Iraq is a matter of national security for us [Turkey]".

Speaking on May 10 at a news conference in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey can not accept "direct or indirect" support for the Kurdish fighters and called on Washington to take Ankara's sensitivities into consideration.

Khalil dismissed the label, saying the US would not supply arms to terrorists.

A top Syrian Kurdish official says the USA decision to arm Kurdish fighters with heavier weapons will help legitimize the force, which is denounced as a terrorist organization by Turkey.

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"Turkey is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally". Mattis spoke to Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik on Tuesday following the announcement, and told reporters that America's "intent is to work with the Turks, alongside one another, to take Raqqah down, and we're going to sort it out and we'll figure out how we're going to do it". "I'm not concerned at all about the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and the relations between our nations", he told reporters, as he toured a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training site outside Vilnius, Lithuania.

With air strikes and special forces from the US -led coalition, the SDF are advancing on Raqqa to ultimately take the city, which is also the Islamic State's base of operations in Syria.

But arming the Kurds' Arab allies was widely seen as a way for the Obama administration to indirectly, or quietly, arm Kurdish elements as well without upsetting Turkey.

Thursday's coalition statement says the fall of Tabqa and its dam the day before also denies IS "a key coordination hub" used by the group's foreign fighters since 2013 to plan operations and attacks against the West.

The Turkish deputy Prime Minister on Wednesday described the US' decision to arm Kurdish fighters in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria as "unacceptable".

A first consignment of weapons is already in place for delivery and could be dispatched to the Kurds "very quickly", said US Colonel John Dorrian, a military spokesman for the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition in Baghdad. "Everyone should be aware that this question is of vital importance for Turkey".

The decision is meant to accelerate the Raqqa operation, but it clashes with the Turkish government's view that the Syrian Kurdish group known as the YPG is an extension of Kurdish terrorist organisation that operates in Turkey.

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