February 15, 2018 / 11:00 AM / a year ago

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

FILE PHOTO - A Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) flag flutters as people celebrate the spring festival of Nowruz, in al-Darbasiyah town, on the Syrian-Turkish border, Syria March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said

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.

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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