Syrian Kurdish forces to push on IS capital this summer
22 May, 2017, 16:59 | Author: Essie Rivera
Syria will dominate the agenda as the Turkish leader tries for a final time to try to convince the American president to change his mind about cooperating with the YPG ahead of a massive military campaign in Raqqa with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by Kurdish fighters.
Erdogan portrays USA support for the Kurdish militia - instead of Syrian Arab rebels - as a leftover policy from the Obama administration, which he said had wrongly accused Turkey of doing too little in the fight against Islamic State.
"The decision ... is a sign that we have proven ourselves as a reliable ground force against Daesh [ISIS] here in Syria", Jesper Soder, a Swedish volunteer with the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters in Syria, told Syria Deeply. Ankara is also enraged by US plans to arm the Syrian Kurds, who they consider terrorists.
Leader of mainly Kurdish US-backed Syrian group confirms attack on ISIL stronghold will take place beginning of summer.
Turkey views the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought the state in the south-east of Turkey since 1984 and is considered a "terrorist group" by the USA and EU. Thus, the SDF was created.
During the Turkish delegation's trip to Washington, President Trump approved a plan to provide weapons to YPG militants in Northern Syria - which was not a popular decision in the Turkish capital. He warned cryptically that Turkey, which has its own troops in Syria, has the authority to defend its interests in that country.
He said that weapons the White House has approved for the YPG had yet to arrive.
The announcement followed news of a Trump administration plan to arm the Kurdish elements of SDF.
A decision to directly arm the YPG was made by President Barack Obama before he left office, according to Colin Kahl, a former top national security aide to Vice President Joe Biden. But this step is necessary in order for our forces to liberate Raqqa. We want to make sure that the Syrian Arab Coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces have the weapons and the equipment that they need there to be successful against ISIS, the Coalition's spokesperson US Col Ryan Dillon told Rudaw on Friday.
The meeting is considered high stakes for the nascent Trump administration as it looks to engage regional allies in delicate security matters while enforcing worldwide standards for human rights.
"As a volunteer that has spent years supporting the YPG, I'm astonished this sort of help didn't come sooner". "We really wanted to be done with (IS)". Bozdağ presented new evidence supporting the accusation that Gülen was involved in the attempted takeover as the process between Turkish and USA judicial authorities continues in terms of procedure.
First of all, there should be no doubt that the YPG is not an independent entity but the Syrian branch of the PKK - which both Turkey and the USA consider a terrorist organization. "Every weapon seized by them is a threat to Turkey", Turkey Hurriyet News reported.
"Instead, we say [to Turkey's allies] it would be rational to cooperate with Turkey, which is the only regional country with economic and political stability", he added.
Turkey's president says he expects his upcoming visit to Washington will constitute a new "milestone" for the troubled relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
In a statement, coalition spokesman Col. John Dorrian described it as "yet another victory" for America's ground force partners in the fight against IS.
A USA official also told Reuters that the United States was looking to boost intelligence cooperation with Turkey to support its fight against the PKK. "Unless provided with extensive assurances or compromises, a robust and credible deal, Turkey will respond very harshly".
"The SDF's increased pressure on ISIS from each flank allowed it to..."
The Pentagon on Wednesday said it's preparing to deliver the first cache to the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units, or YPG.
There are risks to arming the YPG.
Turkey's military operation in northern Syria was effectively limited by both the USA and Russian Federation, and the whole affair was halted a while ago.
Dr. Nasr Haji Mansour, a senior SDF adviser in Syria, disagrees. The U.S. also has pressed unsuccessfully for the release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, and other detained U.S. citizens. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Raqqa city. Others, including Prime Minister Yildirim, have taken a more measured approach.
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Erdogan welcomed Trump's election victory last November and said he hoped it would lead to "beneficial steps" in the Middle East. The US-backed forces put pressure on ISIS from each flank, cleared the final neighborhoods of the city, and isolated Tabqah Dam.
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