The Syrian Kurdish group labeled a terror organization by Turkey is hailing the USA decision to arm it with heavy weapons to fight the Islamic State group.
Coalition spokesman Col. John Dorrian says the capture of Tabqa is "yet another victory" for the Kurdish-led forces - one that also averted a humanitarian disaster. It says the decision is a refutation of the "distortions" likening the YPG to a terror organization. SDF spokesman Talal Silo attributed the Tabqa victory to "the sacrifices of the SDF's heroes" and "the full, unlimited support of the US-led worldwide coalition", Reuters reported. "They only have different names", Cavusoglu said in televised comments during an official visit to Montenegro.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that he hoped the decision will be changed by the time he visits Washington for talks with Trump next week.
"We agree 100 percent with Turkey's concern about PKK, a named terrorist group".
US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces have defeated Islamic State fighters in the city of Tabqa and have seized Tabqa Dam, a key objective for the militias before a planned attack on the terror group's de-facto capital, Raqqa.
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The SDF is led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara views as a terrorist organization over its alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey, the European Union and the USA have all branded the PKK a terrorist organization for its decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
FILE - A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter walks near destroyed airplane parts inside Tabqa military airport after taking control of it from Islamic State fighters, west of Raqqa city, Syria April 9, 2017. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS.
It was not clear if the leaders discussed the US decision this week to arm the People's Protection Unit (YPG) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it will arm the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces "as necessary" to recapture the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey strongly objects to the alliance because it sees the Kurds as an extension of the insurgency raging in its southeast.
Mr Erdogan has argued that the YPG should be excluded from the Raqqa offensive and urged the United States to switch to supporting a Syrian Arab rebel force that has driven IS out of a border area in the past year with the help of the Turkish military.
"We expect that this mistake is to be rectified", he said, days ahead of a crunch meeting in Washington between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and USA counterpart Donald Trump.