Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

Using one terrorist group to destroy another is unworthy of serious states, Turkey's prime minister said Friday while criticizing a US decision to arm the PKK/PYD to defeat Daesh in Syria, Anadolu reported.

Ankara roiled relations with Washington in late April when it bombed Syrian Kurdish fighters allied with the United States.

Ahead of Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with Donald Trump in Washington next week, US defense secretary Jim Mattis met with the Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim in London on Thursday to assure Ankara that the weapons provided to the Kurds would not be used against Turkey and "reiterated USA commitment to protecting our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally", White said. On Wednesday they took control of Taqba, 33 miles west of Raqqa and home to Syria's largest dam. That is true even though the policies of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appear to be in conflict with basic American democratic values.

The challenge is hardly new. Moreover, D. Trump decided not to depart from the policy of destabilizing the situation in the Middle East.

Past administrations have sought a delicate balance.

Earlier this week, the USA announced it would arm the Kurdish elements of the SDF for the fight for Raqqa - dubbed Operation Wrath of the Euphrates.

While Turkey has also been fighting ISIS in Syria, Ankara has made it clear that it is also opposed to the Kurdish presence near its border.

Last week, the US announced that it will equip the "Kurdish elements" of the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are mainly formed by the PKK-affiliated YPG, with mortar shells, heat-seeking missiles, heavy machine guns, automatic weapons, heavy automatic weapons, armored vehicles and tanks.

Ankara- Developments in Syria, especially with regard to the U.S. decision to arm Kurds in the framework of speeding up the process of liberating Raqqa from ISIS control, have imposed themselves as one of the main issues on the agenda of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "For those who want to help. they must first solve their problems in their own countries".




Ankara, a crucial partner in the USA -led coalition against Islamic State, considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast for three decades and is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and United States.

These assurances appear to have been made to try to placate Turkish outrage over United States plans to arm the YPG with heavy weapons for the Raqqa battle, and for the USA choosing to back the YPG in the offensive against ISIS in general, something Turkey has repeatedly condemned.

The recent supply of weapons to the Kurds in Syria will be top of the agenda. Trump's earlier congratulatory message to Erdogan on "winning" a now widely disputed referendum that vastly extends his powers and his term of office comes immediately to mind. As a result, experts see Erdogan using the meeting to confront Trump on a host of other Turkish grievances.

Erdogan blamed the coup on Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

"With the new USA administration, we believe they are honest in mending the relationship with Turkey, but only time will show", he said, speaking through a translator.

The U.S., too, has a wish list for Turkey. "Unless provided with extensive assurances or compromises, a robust and credible deal, Turkey will respond very harshly".

Trump has gone out of his way to foster a good relationship with Erdogan.

Now, the American leader may try to cash in. Ankara said the plan was "unacceptable" and a threat to its national security. "I hope that during the meeting of our president next week with President Donald Trump this issue will be changed to a positive trajectory". Trump wants to see a quick-and-decisive military defeat of ISIS, a goal that makes the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) a precious USA partner on the ground.

The Kurds, meanwhile, will assume that the blood and treasure they have spent in the fight against Islamic terrorists has earned them long-term support from Washington. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear. "Turkey closing their base, that would be hard to believe", said Capt. Daniel Hernandez, a spokesman.

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