U.S. Support to Syrian Forces to Shift to Diplomacy, Stabilization
U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clarified on December 1 that with the defeat of ISIS, support to Syrian forces will shift to making sure they do not return, reports Reuters.
Last week Andolu news said that President Donald Trump vowed to stop arming the YPG, during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Following the announcement, U.S. allies in Syria the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), responded they were unaware of cuts, as support has continued on a weekly basis to fight ISIS in the remaining desert areas bordering Iraq, reported the AFP.
Over recent months, the U.S. military has referred to adjustments, weapons returns, and other equipment returns by the SDF, in an effort to appease Turkey’s fear of armed Kurdish Syrians on their border, following the defeat of ISIS.
Discussions of disarming the SDF have been ongoing since the liberation of Raqqa began.
With the U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis trip to the Middle East, questions of funding for Syrian allies have come up again.
“That fighting is now dropping off in terms of the need for offensive capability. Consistent with that, we’re changing the composition of our forces to something that supports the diplomats and the Geneva Process,” Mattis said on Friday.
Until now, the Pentagon has only gone as far as saying it was reviewing “adjustments” in arms for the Syrian Kurdish forces, which Ankara views as a threat, reported Reuters.
“The YPG is armed and as the coalition stops offensive (operations) then obviously you don’t need that, you need security, you need police forces, that is local forces, that is people who make certain that ISIS doesn’t come back,” Mattis said.
The Syrian Kurdish YPG spearheads the SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State that has been a close ally of the U.S.-led coalition since the beginning of the liberation of Raqqa in 2016.