“We cannot accept presence of terrorist organizations that threaten the Turkish state. We hope US will turn back from it. Such a policy will not be beneficial.” Turks could be looking for concessions from US to make up for decision, or trying to de-emphasize embarrassment from decision being announced just as Turkish officials were arriving in DC to lobby against it. Syrian Kurds expressed gratitude over US move. “It is a historical decision that came after years of trust and coordination between the Kurdish units and our partners in the coalition.” Much weaponry & equipment to be provided to Kurds is already in Syria and could be distributed very soon. Here, Syrian Kurdish refugees approach an Islamic State border stronghold.
Turkey’s president and his top aides sharply criticized the Trump administration on Wednesday
over its decision to arm a Syrian Kurdish militant group in the battle against the Islamic State,
and they urged the White House to reverse it.
The criticism, while not necessarily unexpected, was striking coming from Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States.
The militant group, the People’s Protection Units, known by the Kurdish abbreviation Y.P.G., is fighting alongside Syrian Arab forces against the Islamic State
and is intending to expel the jihadist organization from its de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria.
But Turkey considers the Y.P.G. a terrorist organization and asserts that it is closely linked to the P.K.K.,
a Kurdish separatist group that has waged an often violent liberation struggle against the Turkish government.
“I want to believe that Turkey’s allies will side with us, not with terrorist organizations,”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks quoted in Turkish news media in reaction to the Trump administration’s decision, which was announced on Tuesday.
“We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state,”
Mr. Canikli, a deputy prime minister, said in an interview with the private broadcaster A Haber.
“We hope the U.S. administration will put a stop to this wrong and turn back from it.
Such a policy will not be beneficial; you can’t be in the same sack as terrorist organizations.”
Analysts said there were several reasons the Turkish government might play down the event:
It could be looking for concessions from the United States to make up for the decision,
or it could be trying to reassure its supporter,
or to de-emphasize the embarrassment that came from the decision being announced
just as Turkish officials were arriving in Washington to lobby against it.
For their part, the Syrian Kurds expressed gratitude over the American move.
“It is a historical decision that came after years of trust and coordination between the Kurdish units and our partners in the coalition,”
said Shervan Darweesh, a Syrian Kurdish official and spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces,
the umbrella group of Arab and Kurdish fighters in Syria battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
“Now the fight against ISIS will be more effective and swift.”
Asked about the Turkish complaints, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down the disagreement.
“We’ll work out any of the concerns,” Mr. Mattis told reporters in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was meeting with other NATO defense ministers.
US officials said that much of the weapons and equipment that was to be provided to the Syrian Kurds was already in Syria and could be distributed very soon.
“We have a certain amount of supply in the country already,”
Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said in a briefing for Pentagon reporters.
“Some of that may be distributed very quickly.”
Colonel Dorrian said that the supply would be “metered out” for specific operations
and that American advisers would monitor the flow to ensure that it was used to fight the Islamic State, and not diverted elsewhere.
He said that the Kurdish and Arab members of the Syrian Democratic Forces would receive the same types of weapons.
Explaining the need to provide the arms, Colonel Dorrian said that
there are more Islamic State fighters in Raqqa than in any other city or town in Syria and Iraq, including Mosul in Iraq,
and that the militants in Raqqa have car bombs and have been fortifying their positions.
Colonel Dorrian did not say when the operation to seize Raqqa would begin.
But the American-backed fighters have been closing in on the city,
and Colonel Dorrian said that the decision to provide them with heavier arms would enable them to accelerate the operation.
Source: Turkey Assails U.S. Decision to Arm Syrian Kurds – The New York Times