President Trump Authorizes Arming of Kurds to Fight ISIS 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

The issue has come to a head now because battlefield progress this year has put the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces almost in position attack IS in Raqqa, although they are still attempting to isolate the city.

The YPG is considered the militia for a Kurdish nationalist group known as the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Kurdish forces are on the move to take back Raqqa, the city ISIS declared its capital.

Turkey has continued to lobby the Trump administration to change course in the days leading up to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's USA visit, dispatching top Turkish officials, including General Hulusi Akar, the military chief of staff, and Hakan Fidan, the intelligence chief, to Washington.

Turkey views the Kurdish rebels as terrorists and wants to stop them taking more territory in Syria.

The decision to arm the Kurds was announced just hours after US Defence Minister James Mattis met with a Turkish official in Denmark at an anti-ISIL coalition summit.

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The YPG clashed with the Turkish military a year ago as Turkey began Operation Euphrates Shield to clear border areas of ISIS.

Trump is expected to officially inform Erdogan of his decision Tuesday, when he visits the White House.

"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey", White said.

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.

The Syrian regimes actions and policies, including with respect to chemical and biological weapons, supporting terrorist organisations, and obstructing the Lebanese governments ability to function effectively, continue to foster the rise of extremism and sectarianism and pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, Trump said. "We'll figure out how we're going to do it".

In Denmark, Mattis was asked about the way forward with Turkey over the Raqqa issue. "NATO allies stick together, " he said.

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For the USA administration, which is skeptical that the Turkish-backed force is large enough or sufficiently trained, the decision sets Trump's wish for quick battlefield victories against the need to maintain its strategic alliance with Turkey.

YPG elements could receive mortars, heavy machine guns and armored tactical vehicles as part of the Trump administration's plan, The Associated Press reported.

Tensions escalated last month when Turkey launched air raids on Kurdish bases in Syria and Iraq.

As many as 1,000 USA troops are working alongside the SDF inside Syria.

"We were troubled by that", Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said of Turkey's failure to give adequate warning of airstrikes in the Hasaka area. Both are likely to be needed if Kurdish troops are to successfully penetrate Raqqa, well fortified by Islamic State militants.

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