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Turkey: US to Stop Arming Syrian Kurdish Fighters

Image: Turkey: US to Stop Arming Syrian Kurdish Fighters
This frame grab from video released Tuesday, July 4, 2017, and provided by Furat FM, a Syrian Kurdish activist-run media group, shows U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters in the eastern side of Raqqa, Syria. (Furat FM, via AP)

Friday, 24 November 2017 12:44 PM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart that the United States will no longer supply arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Cavusoglu said Trump relayed his decision during a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Erdogan. Cavusoglu said he was present in 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," Cavusoglu said in a press conference in the Turkish capital.

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

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

Earlier, Trump tweeted that he'd be speaking with Erdogan "about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East."

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump told his Turkish counterpart that the United States will no longer supply arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters.
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Friday, 24 November 2017 12:44 PM
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