US commanders suggest Kurdish fighters in Syria hold weapons | USA Information





US commanders planning for the withdrawal of troops from Syria have advisable that Kurdish fighters be permitted to maintain US-supplied weapons, a transfer that may incense NATO ally Turkey.

Three officers, talking to Reuters information company on the situation of anonymity, mentioned the suggestions have been a part of discussions on a draft plan by the US army.

Whereas talks are at an early stage, no determination has but been made, the officers famous.

The Pentagon mentioned it might be “inappropriate” and untimely to touch upon what is going to occur with the weapons.




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“Planning is ongoing, and centered on executing a deliberate and managed withdrawal of forces whereas taking all measures potential to make sure our troops’ security,” mentioned Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesperson.

It’s unclear what the Pentagon will finally advocate to the White Home within the coming days. However the ultimate determination can be made by President Donald Trump, who ordered the withdrawal of about 2,000 US troops from Syria earlier this month.

The transfer prompted Jim Mattis, the US defence secretary, to resign.

The US officers mentioned Trump’s announcement has upset American commanders, who view his determination as a betrayal to the northern-based Kurdish fighters.

The Folks’s Safety Models (YPG), which embodies the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has been the spine of an alliance that has spearheaded the US-backed battle in opposition to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also referred to as ISIS) in Syria.

They’re perceived as a “terrorist” group by Turkey, which has vowed to launch an operation in Syria focusing on areas underneath the management of YPG fighters.

‘Combat is not over’

The US informed the YPG that they’d be armed by Washington till the battle in opposition to ISIL was over, one of many officers mentioned.

“The battle is not over. We will not merely begin asking for the weapons again,” he mentioned.

The proposal to go away US-supplied weapons with the YPG, which might embody anti-tank missiles, armoured autos and mortars, would reassure Kurdish allies that they weren’t being deserted.




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However Turkey desires Washington to take the weapons again, so the commanders’ suggestion, if confirmed, might complicate Trump’s plan to permit Turkey to complete off the battle in opposition to ISIL inside Syria.

The Pentagon retains data of the weapons it has equipped to the YPG and their chain of custody. However the US officers mentioned it might be almost inconceivable to find the entire gear.

“How are we going to get them again and who’s going to take them again?” one of many officers mentioned.

The controversy over whether or not to go away weapons with the YPG coincides with Trump’s NSA John Bolton’s go to to Turkey and Israel subsequent week for talks on Syria.

In Might 2017, the US started distributing arms and gear to the YPG for an offensive in opposition to Raqqa, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed ISIL caliphate.

Washington informed Ankara that it might take again the weapons after the defeat of ISIL, which has misplaced all however just a few slivers of territory in northeastern Syria.

“The concept we would be able to get well them is asinine. So we depart them the place they’re,” mentioned a US official.

An individual accustomed to the discussions of the US withdrawal plan mentioned the White Home and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would oppose the proposal to permit the YPG to maintain its US-supplied weapons.

The advice “is a rejection of Trump’s coverage to withdraw from Syria”, mentioned the individual, who requested anonymity.

Turkey has mentioned weapons equipped to the YPG have prior to now ended up within the fingers of Kurdish separatists, and described any weapon given to the fighters as a risk to Turkey’s safety.

In the meantime, the Kurds have welcomed a Syrian authorities advance within the metropolis of Manbij within the northeast of Aleppo Governorate, a practical shift in alliances that can sprint their aspirations for autonomy however might assist them minimize their losses.

“We invite the Syrian authorities forces… to say management over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, notably in Manbij, and to guard these areas in opposition to a Turkish invasion,” the YPG mentioned in an announcement.





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