Syrian fighters take back town, dam from IS

8 2016 by Hawar news the news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria, shows Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces raising their flag after driving Islamic State militants out of the area

Turkey's top officials have slammed a decision by the USA to arm the Syrian Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) while Washington said that it would address Ankara's security concerns.

Anti-Islamic State fighters, backed by USA forces, have seized a strategic town in northern Syria and will soon move "within striking distance" of Raqqa, the terrorist group's self-proclaimed capital, a US military spokesman said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that U.S. President Trump had approved the arming of the YPG "as necessary to ensure a clear victory" in a planned operation to retake the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State (IS).

Syrian Democratic Forces announced Wednesday that they had seized the town and captured the nearby Tabqa Dam, Syria's largest and most important hydroelectric dam.

"I hope very much that this mistake will be reversed immediately", Mr Erdogan said.

Erdogan further emphasized that he would mention the issue in upcoming discussions with Trump when the two are scheduled to meet in Washington on May 16 in their first formal encounter as heads of state.

Mattis said that Washington will be cooperating with Turkey to liberate the Daesh-held northeastern Syrian city of Raqqah. Turkey, the European Union, and the United States all consider the PKK a terrorist group. "A negative outcome will also emerge for the United States". Russia-the key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad-and Turkey have been on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict but are working increasingly closely together in search of peace. They have largely surrounded Raqqah and are expected to begin an offensive soon. The U.S.is eager to expel IS from Raqqa and sees the Syrian Kurds, who are among the most effective fighters in the country, as the best placed force for the task.

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They captured Tabqa "thanks to the sacrifices of the SDF's heroes and with the full, unlimited support of the USA -led global coalition", said SDF spokesman Talal Silo. US officials countered by saying that Kurdish forces have driven out militants from 2,300 square miles of northern Syria over the past two years, with the help of USA air strikes.

Ankara has argued that Washington should switch support for the Raqqa assault from the YPG to Syrian rebels Turkey has trained and led against Islamic State for the past year - despite USA scepticism about their military capability.

Ankara views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which has been waging a decades-old insurgency in Turkey.

Turkey's defense minister has described a US decision to supply arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters as a "crisis" between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu added that "every weapon that turns up in their hands is a threat directed toward Turkey". The YPG hailed the move as "historic" and said it would now play "a more influential, powerful, and decisive role" in fighting I.S. "This issue is likely to come up when Turkish President Erdogan visits the White House next week".

Turkish deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli also criticized Washington noting that support for the group "will profit nobody".

Canikli expressed hope that Washington would reverse its decision, saying "there is no truth to the claim that the fight against Daesh can only be successful with the YPG".

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