MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, following the US Defense Department's announcement that President Donald Trump approved a plan to arm YPG, the Syrian Kurdish PYD party's affiliate, fighting Daesh terrorists in Syria, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis ensured his Turkish counterpart Fikri Isik over phone of the US commitment to prevent security risks for Turkey.
"We'll work out any of the concerns… We will work very closely with Turkey in support of their security on their southern border. It's Europe's southern border, and we'll stay closely connected," Mattis told reporters as quoted by the Daily Sabah newspaper.
Ankara considers the YPG, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) military branch, to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terror group in Turkey, the United States and the European Union. However, the PYD and the YPG, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been receiving support from the United States in fighting Daesh in northern Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit the United States to hold a meeting with Trump on May, 16. The two leaders will discuss the particulars of the situation in Syria, Iraq and the larger fight against terrorism.
In November 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which predominately consists of Kurdish fighters, but also includes members of the Syrian Arab Coalition, launched an operation called the Rage of Euphrates in order to seize control over Syrian Raqqa, the de facto Daesh capital, and are now starting the fourth stage of the campaign aimed at liberating the rural areas of Raqqa province from terrorists.