Turkey to US: remove Kurdish fighters from anti-IS force

FILE - This Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 file photo, shows U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrard left, thanks Manbij Military Council commander Muhammed Abu Ad

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's defense minister says he has asked his American counterpart that the United States end its support for Syrian Kurdish fighters and remove them from a U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, that if fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

Nurettin Canikli also says in comments televised live from Brussels on Thursday that he told U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, that U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as YPG, has helped Kurdish rebels in Turkey "to grow and strengthen," posing an increasingly "existential" threat to Turkey.

Canikli said he presented documents to Mattis proving "organic" links between the YPG and Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is due in Ankara later on Thursday to discuss growing tensions between the two NATO allies.