Wednesday 26 September 2018

Turkey: US to stop arming Syrian Kurdish fighters

Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, known by as the YPG, to be terrorists because of their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey
Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, known by as the YPG, to be terrorists because of their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that US President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart that the United States will no longer supply arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Mr Cavusoglu said Mr Trump relayed his decision during a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Mr Cavusoglu said he was present in Mr Erdogan's office during the telephone call.

Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, known by the initials YPG, to be terrorists because of their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

"Mr Trump clearly stated that he had given clear instructions and that the YPG won't be given arms, and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago," Mr Cavusoglu said in a press conference in the Turkish capital.

There was no immediate comment from the White House, the US State Department or the Pentagon. But Turkey's announcement appeared to catch at least some US officials who work on Syria issues off-guard, with several saying they were unaware of any plans to alter US assistance to the Kurds.

Relations between Nato allies Turkey and the United States have soured over a number of issues, including US support to Syrian Kurdish fighters which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

Earlier, Mr Trump tweeted: "Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East."

AP

Press Association

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