US approves supply of weapons to YPG Kurdish militia in Syria: official

The issue of whether to arm the Kurds has been hugely contentious for the Trump administration, as such a move is sure to infuriate US ally Turkey, which considers the YPG as terrorists.

VILNIUS // US president Donald Trump has approved the supplying of weapons to Kurdish forces battling ISIL in Syria, a US official said on Tuesday.

“The approval is effective immediately but the timeline for weapons delivery is to be refined,” the official added.

The issue of whether to arm the Kurds has been hugely contentious for the Trump administration, as such a move is sure to infuriate US ally Turkey, which considers the YPG as terrorists.

The official did not specify what kind of weapons will be provided, but they will be used in the upcoming fight to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa, ISIl’s last remaining major stronghold.

The city is being surrounded by a Kurdish and Syrian Arab alliance and officials are expecting a brutal fight to retake it.

The decision to arm the Kurds was announced just hours after Pentagon chief Jim Mattis met with a Turkish official in Denmark at an anti-ISIL coalition summit.

He sounded upbeat on the relationship with Turkey, saying Washington and Ankara would work together to take Raqqa. It was not clear if the arming of the Kurds had come up in the discussion.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: May 10, 2017 04:00 AM

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