US to Stop Arming Anti-IS Syrian Kurdish YPG militia

In a major policy shift from the Obama administration, the Trump administration has decided to halt in arming the anti-IS Syrian Kurdish YPG militia due to a request by Turkey.

BBC News:

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said President Donald Trump had made the promise in a phone call to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The White House said it was making “adjustments” to its support for partners inside Syria but did not explicitly name the YPG.

Turkey has long complained about US support for the group.

Washington has viewed the YPG as a key player in the fight against so-called Islamic State (IS), but Ankara brands the group’s fighters as terrorists.

Turkey says the YPG is as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group it has been fighting for decades in south-eastern Turkey.

The US, however, has seen the YPG as distinct from the PKK. In May it announced it would supply arms to the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which were poised to drive IS from its stronghold of Raqqa. It had previously armed only Arab elements of the SDF.

The Pentagon is likely reassessing its needs in Syria as the fight against IS has waned in recent months. But whatever adjustments are being made, it is clear the US military has no plans to leave the war-torn country. It has been revealed that about 2,000 US troops are now based there – a significant increase since the Obama administration.

The White House confirmed the two leaders had spoken by phone and said Mr Trump “reaffirmed the strategic partnership” between the US and Turkey.

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Whether or not this is a good move by the Trump administration or not, only time will tell in the coming months and years.

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