Turkey has criticized U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for saying Washington wants to prevent Turkey from "slaughtering" Kurds as American troops prepare to withdraw from Syria.

A Foreign Ministry statement released Friday accused Pompeo of displaying "a worrying lack of information" for equating a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia group, the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, with Syria's Kurdish population.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to an insurgency within its own borders. It has threatened a new cross-border offensive in northern Syria to drive out the YPG.

According to a U.S. State Department transcript, Pompeo told Newsmax media outlet that "ensuring that the Turks don't slaughter the Kurds" was part "of the American mission set."

U.S. support to the YPG caused friction between Washington and Ankara.