Erdogan criticises US plan to arm YPG in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will convey his concerns over the US decision to arm the YPG, but expects Washington to reverse the decision before he meets his US counterpart Donald Trump next week.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

This file photo taken on April 28, 2017 shows US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, driving their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey on April 28, 2017.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on the country's allies to "side with Ankara and not with terrorist organisations."

Erdogan was speaking a day after the Pentagon announced that US President Donald Trump had approved arming what it called "Kurdish elements" of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by the YPG, the armed wing of the PYD, which is linked to the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

"We would like to believe that our allies will prefer to side with us and not with terrorist organisations," Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara.

Turkey's president said he would revisit the issue when he meets Trump in Washington on May 16, but expects the US government to reverse its decision before he heads to the US.

TRT World's Soraya Lennie has more on Turkey's concerns. 

Weapons to target Daesh

The US insists it is not arming elements hostile to its NATO partner.

A US-led anti-Daesh coalition spokesman told reporters in Washington that the weapons would be "pointed at ISIS [Daesh]."

"We're going to carefully monitor what's being provided and what it's used for, and we are completely committed to make sure that it's being used for exactly the purpose that we intend," said Air Force Col. John Dorrian.

Dorrian said the arms would be "distributed soon" and would include small arms, ammunition, heavy machine guns and other weapons to eliminate Daesh's vehicle-borne bombs.

Asked if the last category would include anti-tank TOW missiles, Dorrian said the package would include "other capabilities that can address that level of threat."

TRTWorld and agencies