THE US decision to provide arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters has been criticised by Ankara.

The US said it was a necessary step in recapturing the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he hopes the US will reverse its decision to arm the fighters, perceived as terrorists by Ankara.

Loading article content

Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli also denounced the decision as “unacceptable” and said it “amounts to support to a terror organisation”.

During a visit to Montenegro yesterday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said there was no difference between the Syrian Kurdish fighters and the outlawed Kurdish rebels.

The president said he would take up the issue during a planned meeting with US President Donald Trump on May 16.

Erdogan said the “fight against terrorism should not be led with another terror organisation” and that “we want to know that our allies will side with us and not with terror organisations”.

Erdogan added: “I hope that they [the US] will turn away from this wrong.”

Cavusoglu said: “Every weapon that reaches their hands is a threat towards Turkey.”

However, the Syrian Kurdish group labelled a terror organisation by Turkey hailed the US decision to arm it with heavy weapons to fight Daesh.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said in a statement that the decision was “historic” and a “sign of confidence” in the group, allowing it to expand its operations against Daesh.

A Turkish air raid in late April killed 20 YPG fighters and media officials, prompting the US to deploy armoured vehicles along the border in a show of support.

Turkey is believed to have positioned more than 5000 troops in northern Syria, and has escalated its air strikes and cross-border artillery attacks on the Syrian Kurdish forces.