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US commanders propose to keep Kurdish fighters in Syria weapons USA news



US commanders planning a withdrawal of troops from Syria have recommended allowing Kurdish fighters to retain weapons supplied by the US, which would rouse Turkey's NATO ally Anonymity helped, the recommendations had been part of the discussions about a draft of the US military.

While the talks are at an early stage, no decision has yet been made, officials said.

The Pentagon said that this was the case "inappropriate" and premature to comment on what will happen to the weapons.

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"Planning is underway and focused on carrying out a conscious and controlled withdrawal of forces while all measures being taken are possible to ensure the safety of our troops," said Commander Sean Robertson, a spokesman for the Pentagon.

It is not clear what the Pentagon will recommend to the White House in the coming days. However, the final decision will be made by President Donald Trump, who ordered the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria earlier this month.

The move led US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis to resign.

The US officials The announcement by Trump has angered the American commanders, who consider his decision as a betrayal of the Kurdish fighters from the north.

The People Protection Units (YPG), which epitomize the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), were the backbone of an Alliance that also supported the US-backed struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levantist group (ISIL, aka as ISIS) in Syria.

They are perceived by Turkey as a "terrorist" group that has praised the launch of an operation in Syria directed to areas controlled by YPG fighters.

"Fighting is not over"

The US told the YPG that they would be armed by Washington until the fight against ISIL, one of the officials, was over.

"The fight is not ov er, we can not just start looking for weapons," he said.

The proposal to leave US-supplied weapons with the YPG, which could include anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles, and mortars, would give the Kurdish allies assurance that they were doing so.

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However, as Turkey wants Washington to withdraw its weapons, the recommendation of commanders Trump's plan to bring Turkey to an end could complicate the outbreak of the fight against ISIL Syria.

The Pentagon keeps records of the weapons it has provided to the YPG and its custody chain. However, the US authorities said it was nearly impossible to locate all the equipment.

"How do we get her back and who will bring her back?" One of the officials said.

The debate over whether arms should be left behind at the YPG coincides with the visit of Trump's NSA John Bolton in Turkey and Israel week for talks on Syri

In May 2017, the US began distributing weapons and equipment to the YPG for an offensive against Raqqa, the de facto capital of the self-styled ISIL caliphate. Washington told Ankara to take back its weapons following the defeat of ISIL, which was lost in northeastern Syria, with the exception of a few territories.

"The idea that we could win them back is astonishing, so we leave them where they are," a US official said.

One person familiar with the discussions on the US withdrawal plan said the White House and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would reject the proposal to allow the YPG to retain their US-supplied weapons.

The recommendation "is a rejection of Trump's policy of withdrawing from Syria," said the person who had asked for anonymity.

Turkey said that the YPG weapons delivered in the past were in the hands of the Kurdish separatists, describing any weapon given to the fighters as a threat to Turkey's security.

Meanwhile, the Kurds have welcomed a move by the Syrian government in the city of Manbij in northeastern Aleppo, but a pragmatic shift in alliances will undermine their efforts for autonomy, but could help them reduce their losses.

"We invite the Syrian government troops to assert control of the areas from which our troops have withdrawn, especially in Manbij, and protect them from Turkish invasion," the YPG said in a statement.


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