Washington will continue arming YPG after Raqqa battle: US official
WASHINGTON, United States (Kurdistan24) – The United States Defense Secretary on Tuesday reaffirmed Washington would continue to provide arms to the Syrian Kurdish fighters even after the battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Raqqa was over.
Regarding promises the US made to Turkey about taking back weapons provided to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said it “depends on when or where the next mission is.”
According to Turkish officials last week, Mattis had reassured them via a letter that weapons provided to the YPG forces would be reclaimed.
The officials also noted the US would provide Turkey with a monthly inventory of arms given to the fighters.
Turkey is concerned with the arming of Kurds in Syria on its border as it views the YPG an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK has been waging a decades-long battle against the Turkish government for broader Kurdish rights.
Turkey claims weapons supplied to the YPG have ended up with the PKK in the past.
The US, on the other hand, supports the Kurdish forces battling IS and sees them as an important ally in the liberation of Raqqa.
Mattis declared the US was going to continue to equip the YPG even after the battle in Raqqa was over.
“When they don’t need certain things anymore, we’ll replace those with something they do need,” he said.
“If they have another fight and they need, you know, the light trucks that they’ve been using…we’ll get them that,” the Defense Secretary concluded.