Trump administration approves supply of heavy weaponry to YPG/PYD terrorists in Syria

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Organized Crime Council and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Executive Committee in Washington D.C

FBI Director James Comey arrives for a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Organized Crime Council and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Executive Committee in Washington D.C

The Pentagon's announcement comes ahead of a scheduled meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Trump in Washington next week.

Turkey views the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, as a threat and has criticized the United States for partnering with them in Syria.

The YPG, the armed faction of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK which Turkey has labelled as a terrorist organization, is part of the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF - the consortium of Syrian Kurdish and Arab militias battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

Currently, the SDF troops are locked in a pitched battle with the Islamic State around the Syrian town of Tabqa on the Euphrates River. The arms, ammunition and vehicles will be delivered in an incremental fashion.

Is he overly concerned how ally Turkey may react?

But she called the Syrian Democratic Forces "the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future", an indirect pushback on Turkish proposals that the USA abandon its support of the YPG and instead rely on other Turkish-backed rebels for the crucial mission.

His approval gives the Pentagon the go-ahead to "equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIS" in Raqqa, said White, who was traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Europe.

But a group of Kurdish fighters, commonly referred to as the People's Protection Units or YPG, is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, another US ally fighting ISIS.

Meanwhile at the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Tuesday that he was unsure whether President Trump had informed Mr. Erdogan of his decision.

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The United States plans to directly arm the Syrian Kurdish military, a Trump administration policy opposed by its Turkish NATO ally, officials said Tuesday.

The Pentagon said that it would continue prioritizing the arming of Arab forces in Syria, but acknowledged Ankara's concerns in the statement announcing the decision.

The Turkish president, fresh from winning the controversial April 16 referendum on enhancing his powers, has indicated that the rewards for Washington in breaking up with the YPG could be high by spurring Turkish involvement in a joint operation to take the IS fiefdom of Raqa.

Tensions escalated last month when Turkey conducted airstrikes on Kurdish bases in Syria and Iraq. The strikes were part of an ongoing counterterrorism operation targeting members of the YPG.

Tillerson told CBS News' "Face The Nation" last month, after the US released an air strike against a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapons attack, that the USA will focus on ISIS first before addressing the other problems of war-ravaged Syria.

The YPG is considered the militia for a Kurdish nationalist group known as the Democratic Union Party (PYD). They said the US would not provide artillery or surface-to-air missiles.

When asked whether the new arms deal with the YPG could put USA forces in danger from Turkish airstrikes, Pentagon spokesman Maj.

Turkey allows the US -led coalition fighting ISIS to use one of its air bases for warplanes involved in the fight, but one risk for the Americans is that Erdogan could withdraw that permission over his objections about the Kurds.

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