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Turkey is currently conducting the operation in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, targeting Kurdish groups, which Ankara considers to be terrorists, with the US pledging its support in the fight against terrorist threats.
Turkey's Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said that he asked the Pentagon's head Jim Mattis to remove the Syrian Kurdish YPG units from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the US is backing in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group in Syria.
Mattis in his turn said after the meeting with his Turkish counterpart that Washington stands with Turkey on its legitimate security concerns. The US defense secretary also added that the two NATO allies were "finding common ground," though there are still "areas of uncommon ground, where sometimes war just gives you bad alternatives to choose from." The talks between the US and Turkey defense ministries were "honest and transparent," according to Mattis.
On Tuesday, Mattis stated that the US would continue to train local security forces in Syria and maintain a military presence in the country as long as required to defeat Daesh, though Washington was aware of Ankara's concerns. Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the US to "stop this theater with Daesh in Syria," adding that a decision by the US to continue to fund the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia would affect Turkey's decisions.
Turkey has repeatedly urged the US to stop sypplying the YPG units in Syria with weapons, as Washington provides support to Kurdish militants fighting in Syria against terrorist groups. In January, Washington noted that it did not provide any training or arms to the Kurds located in the Afrin area, as the US was focused on the Euphrates River Valley operations to the South and to the East.
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