Syrian Kurds clear mines after taking town, dam from IS

Image Fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units stand guard at the site of Turkish airstrikes

While Washington considers the Kurds, known as the YPG, to have most effectively fought IS in northern and eastern Syria, Turkey considers them an extension of a banned terrorist group in its territory.

Erdogan is expected to travel to Washington D.C.to meet with the president next week-their first face-to-face meeting since Trump took office-and one in which divisions over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish militia are likely to be a point of contention.

The SDF is led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara views as a terrorist organization over its alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Yildirim said "there is still an opportunity for the United States to take Turkey's sensitivities into consideration".

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli, in an interview with Turkish broadcaster A Haber, said: "There is no reality in the comments that a ground operation against Daesh (ISIS) can only be successful with the YPG". It said warplanes, thought to belong to the US-led military coalition, hit al-Salihiya village. "They only have different names", Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

The U.S. military will move forward "very quickly" with plans to distribute weapons and ammunition to Kurdish YPG fighters battling the Islamic State in Syria despite opposition from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday. The YPG hailed the move as "historic" and said it would now play "a more influential, powerful, and decisive role" in fighting I.S.

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The SDF spokesman added that the USA decision had a "historic meaning" and demonstrated trust to the Kurdish forces fighting Daesh.

Mr Erdogan's remarks came a day after the United States announced it would arm the fighters as a necessary step to recapture Isil's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

Speaking on a joint press conference with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma in Ankara, Erdogan said" A terrorist group can not be defeated with another one,"quoted by local private broadcaster NTV.

"We do believe that the delivery of these capabilities will accelerate and enable the campaign to go in and seize Raqqa", Dorrian said. Both Washington and Brussels classify the PKK as a terror group but do not regard the YPG as such.

The Trump administration says it will supply the Syrian Democratic Forces, of which the YPG is the main component, with heavier weapons ahead of a push on the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the IS group's de facto capital.

That decision has angered Turkey. The PKK fights for an independent Kurdish region in Turkey. Meanwhile, Trump was to receive Russia's top diplomat Sergei Lavrov at the White House on Wednesday to discuss a Russian plan to establish safe zones in Syria and help end the six-year conflict. Russia-the key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad-and Turkey have been on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict but are working increasingly closely together in search of peace.

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