Trump to Arm Syrian Kurds


American-backed Kurdish forces to receive arms despite opposition from Turkey.

President Donald Trump has authorized the Pentagon to supply arms "as necessary" to Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The armaments are intended to aid the SDF as it launches an offensive to recapture the city of Raqqa, which is the last major stronghold of ISIS within Iraq.

The U.S. reported plans to provide Kurdish units with small arms, including machine guns and rifles, in addition to other armaments.

The decision to arm Kurdish forces runs counter to the wishes of U.S. ally Turkey, which believes the Kurds are allied to terrorism due to their affiliation to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK. The PKK hopes to establish an independent Kurdish state within the borders of Turkey.

Kurdish fighters have long been seen as an indispensable part of the American fight against terrorism in Syria. The Pentagon views Kurds as some of the Syrian opposition's best fighters and say that their help will be needed in retaking Raqqa.

"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partners in Turkey," said White House press secretary Sean Spicer. "We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally."

The U.S. is walking a diplomatic tightrope in Syria because America counts on Turkey's assistance in the ongoing fight against ISIS.