U.S. to expand intelligence cooperation with Turkey

Military officials have argued for months that the YPG is the only force on the ground capable of forcing ISIS out of Raqqa in the near future.

The city is largely surrounded and it is only a matter of time before YPG and other forces in a Kurdish-Syrian Arab alliance launch an offensive against the city.

Syrian rebel groups are under pressure from their Western and Turkish backers to fully cut ties with al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria. Turkey wants the arms agreement reversed, and Yildirim on Wednesday said the US can not use one terrorist group to fight another.

"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey", White said.

Speaking to reporters before departing for London on Wednesday, Yildirim said Turkey can not accept "direct or indirect" support for the Kurdish rebels, known as the PKK.

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"The decision was a mistake and the United States should reverse it". The weapons will not be reclaimed by the US after specific missions are completed, he added, speaking by teleconference from Baghdad, but the USA will "carefully monitor" where and how they are used.

Redur Xelil, a spokesperson for the group noted that arm supply decision will enable the Kurdish forces quickly stamp out the terrorist group.

Turkey's deputy Prime Minister denounced the decision as "unacceptable" and said it "amounts to support to a terror organization".

"We're going to carefully monitor what's being provided and what it's used for, and we are completely committed to make sure that it's being used for exactly the goal that we intend", said Air Force Col. John Dorrian.

"This rightful decision to arm our units shows the falsity of all false allegations were spread against our units and forces to distort their image and to diminish the importance of their role in the fight against terrorism", she said.

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Mattis stressed the enduring nature of the U.S. -Turkey relationship in a meeting with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the first face-to-face contact between officials from the two countries since the U.S. announcement about military support for the Syrian Kurds.

But the decision, announced by the Trump administration Tuesday, is sure to rattle Turkey, which considers the Syrian Kurdish group, known as the YPG, to be a terror organization. "Every weapon seized by them is a threat to Turkey".

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 United States support for the Syrian Kurdish militia are likely to be a point of contention.

Turkey views the YPG as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

The Kurdish YPG militia meanwhile welcomed the US decision to arm its forces in the battle against Islamic State in Syria, saying this would be a significant boost in the war against terrorism. Like Turkey, the USA considers that group a terrorist organization.

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"There is no reality in the comments that a ground operation against Daesh (Islamic State) can only be successful with the YPG".

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