Published: Sat, November 25, 2017
World | By Camille Rivera

Turkey Says Trump Promises To Stop Arming Kurds In Syria

Turkey Says Trump Promises To Stop Arming Kurds In Syria

The decision would cut the flow of weapons from the USA to the YPG, the Kurdish militia fighting with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, just six months after Trump approved the plan over Turkey's strenuous objections.

President Donald Trump told Ankara on Friday that the USA 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.

But it confirmed that Trump had told Erdogan "of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS can not return".

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The Associated Press reports that the announcement appeared to catch the U.S. State Department and Pentagon off-guard. Officials at both agencies, who would normally be informed of changes in US policy toward arming the Syrian Kurds, said they were unaware of any changes.

"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. But the retreat of IS, which has lost almost all its territory in Syria, has altered the dynamics in the region and a USA defense official said he was unaware of any additional arms scheduled to be transferred to the Kurds, even before the Turkish announcement.

"Here in Turkey, it's seen as a slap in the face of the government".

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Responding to a question about a possible contact or cooperation with Assad in view of both leaders' opposition to Syrian Kurdish fighters, Erdogan told journalists: "The political doors are always open until the last minute". We've got a real problem with them.

Friday's phone call followed a summit on Syria in Sochi this week between Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

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.

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