Small Wars Journal

Mattis Makes Clear U.S. Commitment to Protecting Turkey

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 6:22pm

Mattis Makes Clear U.S. Commitment to Protecting Turkey by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Thursday made clear that America is committed to protecting Turkey, a NATO ally upset the Trump administration has agreed to arm anti-Islamic State fighters in Syria that Turkey considers terrorists.

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.

In talks that Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana White described as good and calm, the officials reaffirmed their support for peace and stability in Iraq and Syria.

The U.S. is convinced that the Kurdish fighters, known as the YPG, are the most effective local force in trying to oust IS militants from their stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. Turkey wants the arms agreement reversed, and Yildirim on Wednesday said the U.S. cannot use one terrorist group to fight another…

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