Despite fierce opposition from Turkey, US President Donald Trump has approved supplying arms to the Kurdish YPG militia, to support an operation to conquer the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State, which is the de-facto capital of the extreme Muslim group in the war-torn country. The Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of a US-backed alliance called the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’, is viewed by Turkey as the Syrian extension of the internationally recognized terror group, the Kurdish PKK, which has fought an insurgency in Turkey’s southeast since 1984. In a bid to reassure Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, White House press secretary Sean Spicer emphasized that the United States is committed to prevent any security risks to Turkey. That said, Spicer stressed that Washington views the SDF alliance as the only force on the ground that can successfully seize control of Raqqa in the near future – a campaign that would bring the US-coalition yet another step toward eliminating the Islamic State.
“Yesterday the president authorized the Department of Defense to equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIS in Raqqa, Syria. The SDF partnered with enabling support from U.S. and coalition forces are the only force on the ground to successfully seize Raqqa in the near future. We’re keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partners in Turkey. We want to reassure the people and the government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally. The U.S. continues to prioritize support for Arab elements of the SDF. Raqqa and all liberated territory should return to the governance of local Syrian Arabs,” said Spicer.