Published: Sat, November 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

US will no longer supply weapons to Syrian Kurdish militia: Donald Trump

US will no longer supply weapons to Syrian Kurdish militia: Donald Trump

Trump gave his assurance after Erdogan reaffirmed Ankara's concerns over the US continued delivery of heavy weapons and armoured vehicles to the YPG, the minister said.

President Donald Trump told Ankara on Friday that the U.S. will no longer supply arms to the Syrian Kurdish militia Washington has used against the Islamic State, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

Erdogan also called for the U.S.to completely resolve the visa issue against Turkey, Cavusoglu added. Cavusoglu said he was present in Erdogan's office during the telephone call.

"Mr Trump said he gave a clear order and that after this, weapons would not be supplied to the YPG, essentially he said this nonsense should have been ended earlier", Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a press conference in Ankara.

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Turkey argues the YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has been waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare against Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights. But Turkey's announcement appeared to catch the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department off guard. The Kurds have been invaluable partners to the U.S.in the fight against ISIS, and stopping the supply of arms to those fighters would represent a big policy change.

While Turkey was a traditional USA ally and fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member, Turkey's alliances in Syria have at times alienated it from both the US and Russian camps.

As recently as May, the Trump administration was refusing to stop arming the Kurds.

"Both leaders - who spoke about the importance of strengthening Turkey and US relations - agreed to fight against all kinds of terrorist groups, including the likes of Daesh, PKK and FETO", it said. In both Syria and Iraq, the US relied on battle-hardened Kurdish fighters to do much of the fighting against IS, but those efforts have yet to lead to a realization of the Kurds' broader aspirations, most notably an independent state.

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