The Turks have been greatly upset by the Americans’ offer to arm the Kurdish YPG forces fighting ISIL in northern Syria.
Ankara makes no distinction between the YPG and PKK terrorists, both armed Kurdish groups operating out of Iraq and Syria, and fears arms given to the YPG will be used by the PKK in attacks on Turkish forces.
The US says the Kurds need the weapons for their assault on Raqqa.
“The fight against the terrorist organisation Islamic State should not be carried out with another terrorist organisation. This kind of step would endanger the future of Syria and the region. It’s obvious where the wrong steps taken in the past brought Syria,” said Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Kurds have been the most effective force fighting ISIL on the ground, and allied with elements of the Free Syrian Army have been celebrating their latest success, the liberation of Tabqa, opening up a stretch of the Euphrates river and opening the road to Raqqa.
Raqqa is the Islamic extremists’ Syrian stronghold and their self-proclaimed capital. Fighting for the city is expected to be heavy, and US ground forces are on hand if needed, with some rare footage of US units in northern Syria released on Wednesday.