Pentagon head makes clear US commitment to protecting Turkey

Redur Khalil, the spokesman for the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, on Thursday called on Turkey to let go of its "unjustified" fears of the group, which is battling Islamic State militants with the help of USA -led airstrikes.

"Turkey is one of the major countries that provides tremendous support, without any expectation of recompense, for peace and tranquility in Somalia", Binali Yildirim told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport before flying to Britain.

Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) criticized on Wednesday the US decision, urging President Erdogan to cancel his upcoming visit to the U.S.

The capture of a key Syrian town and a nearby dam from Islamic State group militants by Syrian Kurdish-led forces undermines the IS's ability to defend its de facto capital, Raqqa and disrupts its ability to plan attacks in Western countries, the USA -led global coalition said Thursday.

That argument holds little sway with Ankara, which fears advances by the YPG in northern Syria could inflame the PKK insurgency on Turkish soil.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said much of the same, insisting, "every weapon they (Kurds) obtain is a threat to Turkey".

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"YPG and PKK are both terror groups, there is no difference at all between them".

"From now on, after this historic arming decision, our units will play a more influential, powerful, and decisive role in fighting terrorism at a faster pace", he said.

The United States announced on Tuesday that it would arm Syrian Kurdish fighters in a bid to recapture the Islamic State group's stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, despite Turkey's opposition.

Turkey has said it is keen to join the battle for Raqa on condition the offensive excludes the YPG, which Ankara has targeted with air strikes and artillery.

Erdogan has repeatedly castigated Washington for its support of the YPG.

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

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"Such a policy will not be beneficial; you can't be in the same sack as terrorist organizations".

"We want to let the enemy worry about when our partner forces are going to start, but in the meantime the coalition will continue hammering the enemy anywhere that they can be found as preparatory fires and shaping efforts to help pave the way for the liberation of the city", he said.

Despite fierce objections from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, the United States this week approved supplying arms to the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, a key component of the SDF and their campaign.

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

Mr Erdogan said: "I hope that it [the US] will turn away from this wrong".

Despite the angry language, Mr Erdogan's government has little chance of reversing Washington's decision, and any retaliatory move would come at a cost.

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Next week, Erdogan will be able to press the point in person, when he meets Trump at the White House.

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