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U.S. Calls Erdogan Claim That West Supports 'Terrorists' In Syria 'Ludicrous'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

The United States has denied what it calls "ludicrous" claims by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Western coalition forces are backing "terrorist" groups in Syria, including the Islamic State (IS).

Erdogan said on December 27 that he has evidence that, rather than supporting Turkey, the West is backing IS, which has been the target of U.S. air strikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

Erdogan also grouped in his definition of "terrorist" the Kurdish militia groups -- the YPG and the PYD -- which the United States has worked with on the ground in Syria to try to defeat IS.

"They are supporting all the terror groups -- the YPG, PYD, but also including Daesh," Erdogan said, using another term for IS. "It's quite clear, perfectly obvious," he said, adding that Turkey could provide proof in pictures and video.

Erdogan made a similar claim on a visit to Pakistan last month, alleging that "the West stands by Daesh right now" and that its weapons were Western-made.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner called those accusations "ludicrous" and said there was no basis in fact for them.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP