Turkey assails United States over ties with Syrian Kurdish militia

Plume of Smoke Towers Over Syrian Border Town During Strikes and Clashes

The prayer program was organized by the Turkish Cultural Association in Montreal, a city in southeastern Canada, to show support for the Operation Olive Branch against the PYD/PKK and ISIL terrorists in the Syrian city of Afrin.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to clear PYD/PKK and ISIL terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

"The distraction of what's going on up in Afrin right now, which is drawing off some of the [SDF] forces, which have got about 50 percent", Mattis told reporters on his way to Brussels Sunday where he is scheduled to meet his Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, adding that the percentage could be less or more.

There was no mention of the ongoing war or words between Ankara, which is engaged in a brutal counterterrorism operation in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, and USA and coalition commanders who are warning Turkish forces to stay out of American-controlled territory in Manbij and northeastern Syria. He also and acknowledged areas of disagreement on how to take down Daesh as quickly as possible.

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The two men evaluated regional developments, factors that have damaged relations between the allies and developing ways of combating terrorism, a Turkish presidential source said, but provided no further details.

However, Turkey considers that militia, the YPG, a terrorist organisation.

Gen. McMaster's visit comes less than a week after President Erdogan called upon Washington to withdraw its cadre of USA military advisers from Manbij, or risk attack from Turkish counterterrorism forces.

McMaster's talks with Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin in Istanbul come days ahead of an expected visit to Turkey by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It also mentioned the exchange of opinions on how to effectively counter the terrorist groups in the region.

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