February 15, 2018 / 11:00 AM / 3 months ago

Turkey tells U.S. YPG should be removed from SDF: minister

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s defence minister said on Thursday he had told his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, that the Syrian Kurdish YPG should be removed from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the militia that Washington is backing in the fight against Islamic State.

U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis poses with Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli during a NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Virginia Mayo/Pool

Nurettin Canikli, in a briefing to reporters in Brussels after meeting with the U.S. Defence Secretary, also said he disputed Mattis’s characterisation of the SDF as dominated by Arabs, saying the militia was completely controlled by the YPG.

His comments were broadcast live on television in Turkey.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz and Ezgi Erkoyun; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by David Dolan

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