Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The U.S. will begin providing heavy weaponry, including armored vehicles, to the Syrian Kurdish group, YPG. Its forces have been fighting alongside U.S. Special Operations troops and other enemies of the Islamic State in Syria in a long effort to take Raqqa. The problem is that Turkey considers the YPG to be a mortal enemy, allied with the PKK, a Kurdish group that the U.S. and Turkey have named a terrorist organization.
The Turks expressed fury at the U.S. arms supply announcement.
This issue is complicated, and part of the overall imbroglio that makes up Mideast politics and warfare. Turkey, long a bulwark against expansion by the old Soviet Union, is now looking toward Iran and Russia for cooperation. The three have created safe zones in Syria, touted as a step toward an end of the long Syrian war. The United States was not included in the agreement.
The YPG can be an important instrument in achieving a military victory and, thus, Washington is prepared to take the risk of further damaging U.S. relations with Turkey. Arming the Kurds while keeping Turkey on board is a gamble.
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