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Turkey Says U.S. Arming Kurds In Syria 'Unacceptable'

U.S. forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armored vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey, last month.

NATO member Turkey says the U.S. decision to arm Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria is "unacceptable," warning that such a policy "will benefit nobody."

Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said on May 10 that Ankara hopes the United States will end its policy of supporting the People's Protection Units (YPG) group.

"We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state," Canikli told A Haber television.

On May 9, the Pentagon said that President Donald Trump had authorized the Defense Department to "equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)" as the battle to dislodge IS militants from their stronghold in Raqqa nears.

An SDF spokesman welcomed the decision, saying it would "hasten the defeat of terrorism."

The YPG forms the backbone of the SDF, which has driven IS fighters from much of northern Syria with air strikes from a U.S.-led coalition.

But Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting a decades-long insurgency against Turkish forces for greater autonomy.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AFP