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Syria: Pentagon Withdraws Request To Directly Arm Kurdish Force

1 MIN READNov 1, 2016 | 13:20 GMT

The Pentagon has temporarily withdrawn a request for direct weapons shipments to Syrian Kurdish forces, The Washington Post reported Oct. 31. The news comes as the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State continues to plan for the battle to retake Raqqa, the group's de facto capital in Syria. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have played a key role in the fight against the Islamic State in areas of northern Syria, but Turkey views the group as a threat and has targeted it during its own military operation in Syria. There are also concerns about using a Kurdish force to liberate mostly Arab areas. Arming the YPG is not necessarily a prerequisite for the isolation phases of the Raqqa offensive, during which anti-Islamic State forces will begin to take and hold area surrounding the city. But Washington will have to seriously reconsider arming the Kurdish force if it wants the YPG to help with the actual breach of the city.

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