Syrian Kurdish forces to push on IS capital this summer

A Kurdish-led Syrian force backed by the USA expects to advance on Daesh's (ISIS) de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria this summer, a commander said Friday, following a decision by the Trump administration to supply the force with heavier weapons. As Newsweek wrote in an article "TURKEY WARNS U.S".

But the battle to capture the area can not happen until the Kurds receive heavy weapons from the USA military, according to the Syrian Democratic Forces commander.

The choice of allies and partners on the ground and, in particular, the reliance on the Syrian-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) has put the US-led anti-IS coalition in a direct clash with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally-Turkey. Thus, the SDF was created.

The seizure of Tabqa and Tabqa Dam comes just days after President Donald Trump authorized the Pentagon to equip the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

"If you want to move on Raqqa in the next few months - as opposed to doing it in a year, or never - the SDF is your only option".

He went on to claim that James Mattis, the US Secretary of State, had assured the Turkish government this week that its support for the Kurds in northern Syria was "only temporary" and that they were still considered a "terrorist organisation".

Uslu said he expected Erdogan to present Trump with a plan for a Turkish role in the Raqqa area once the fighting there was over, to prevent a re-emergence of ISIS and to keep the Kurds from expanding their territory to the west of the Euphrates River.

"The attack on Raqa will take place in the beginning of the summer", Syrian Democratic Forces commander Rojda Felat told AFP.

According to Soder, the decision is not altogether new. One of the most painful issues is Ankara's reluctance to truly fight ISIS.

The announcement follows a decision by the Trump administration to supply the force with heavier weapons.

So why didn't we arm the Kurds earlier? Of course that's a tactical alliance; no one in the U.S. government has ever indicated otherwise.


Trump has made his priorities clear.

Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and as a valuable partner in the fight against in Islamic State.

Weapons supplied to the YPG have in the past fallen into PKK hands, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They are among the most staunchly pro-American people in the entire world and make flawless military allies. Bozdag reportedly told US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Turkey would no longer respond to US extradition requests if the administration regarded evidence against Gulen presented by Turkey as insufficient. "Turkey closing their base, that would be hard to believe", said Capt. Daniel Hernandez, a spokesman.

Turkey, which shares border with the Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria has openly and strongly criticized the U.S. decision, an issue that will be top of the agenda when the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the White House next week.

The US has promised Turkey that it will track and take steps to defund the Kurdish militia PKK in an attempt to reassure Recep Tayyep Erdogan's government, after relations between Washington and Ankara came close to fracturing over Syria.

In Turkey, opposition politicians and some media called on Erdogan to cancel his visit to the United States, increasing pressure on the Turkish president.

Dr. Nasr Haji Mansour, a senior SDF adviser in Syria, disagrees.

Turkey, which sits on the border of Syria, and is known as a gateway to Europe from Asia and the Middle East, is in a position of serious strategic importance. "It's aware it's not possible for them to play with such sensitive issues", he said. At the same time Erdogan's actions periodically demonstrate that Turkey does not share the goals and the main principals of the alliance.

The assault has already seen the alliance capture large swathes of the surrounding province with help from the US-led coalition bombing IS in Iraq and Syria.

"The YPG/PYD are whatever the PKK is to Turkey, a terrorist organization".

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