Turkey slams USA arming Syrian Kurds in IS fight

US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish militia-an important US ally in Syria in the fight against IS.

Dana White, the Pentagon's chief spokeswoman, said in a written statement on Tuesday that President Donald Trump chose to "equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as necessary to ensure a clear victory" against ISIL in Raqqa, the group's self-declared capital in Syria.

The SDF, a US-backed group dominated by YPG but which also contains Arab elements, said that receiving U.S. arms and military equipment would "hasten the defeat" of the jihadists.

The group is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of rebel fighters that Washington has for years considered its main ally in Syria. The move announced on May 9 has already provoked fury in Turkey, which considers the YPG an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and hence a terrorist group.

"Turkey's message to the Trump administration was that Turkey reserves the right to take military action", said a senior Turkish official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

According to the statement from U.S. Central Command, 70 ISIS terrorists surrendered to the U.S. -led worldwide coalition Wednesday, and left heavy weapons behind them. He said US -led forces had "almost completely" isolated Raqqa and expected troops to soon begin advancing "within striking distance" of the city.

The recent shift has angered Ankara which views the change as a threat to its security. Erdogan is expected to meet President Trump on May 16.

Mr Erdogan said: "I hope that it [the US] will turn away from this wrong".

"We'll work out any of the concerns", Mattis said referring to Turkey's concerns.

SDF, which is an alliance of the Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters, said the feat was achieved after more than a month of intense fighting in the region.

"It's Europe's southern border, and we'll stay closely connected", Mattis told reporters during a visit to the Pabrade Training Area in Lithuania on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the SDF announced that it has seized control of Syria's largest dam from the Islamic State, as well as the town of Tabqa, the last major obstacle on the road to Raqqa.

Mattis acknowledged Turkey's concerns that weapons could end up in the hands of the Kurdish militants in Turkey, known as the PKK.

The Syrian government has censured and protested the USA and Turkish support for armed militants in Syria, and has vowed to resist any moves by foreign-sponsored militants to seize territories inside the Arab country.

The offensive has been supported by bombing raids by a USA -led coalition, as well as coalition military advisers on the ground.

"The supply of arms to the YPG is unacceptable", he said. "Otherwise, the outcome won't only affect Turkey, a negative outcome will also emerge for the United States".

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