US halts arms supplies to Syrian Kurds at Turkey’s insistence

The White House said it was making “adjustments to its support for US partners” after the defeat of  ISIS in Raqqa, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Seven months ago, President Donald Trump decided to supply the 30,000 members of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia with US arms, including heavy weapons, for the battle to drive the Islamic State from Raqqa,  its de facto Syrian capital. The US military command underlined the importance of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) led by the Kurds to beating to the draw the Russian-backed alliance of the Syrian army, Hizballah and other Shiite militias fighting under Iranian command.

But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan never stopped complaining about US support for the Kurdish group, which he considered an extension of Turkey’s separatist PKK (Kurdish Workers Party). And so, US Defense Secretary James Mattis was sent to Ankara with a promise to take back the heavy weapons from the Kurdish fighters after the Raqqa battle. Meanwhile, amid extremely heavy casualties, the Kurdish fighters and allies achieved victory.

On Friday, Nov. 24, the White House reported that in a phone conversation, President Trump had informed his Turkish counterpart, that “the US is preparing to wind up its direct support for Kurdish forces in Syria.” This was confirmed by the Turkish foreign minister.

Last month, the Syrian Kurds’ Iraqi brethren in the KRG accused Washington of abandoning them after their Peshmerga army was defeated at the oil city of Kirkuk by the Iraqi army and Shiite militias – also under Iranian command. In his letter of resignation, of Oct. 30, Iraqi Kurdistan’s President Masoud Barzani wrote: “Instead of being rewarded by the US and other countries for pushing back ISIS three years ago, the Kurds were betrayed.”
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report that the Syrian Kurdish leaders, aware of the transitory nature of Washington’s support in the face of Turkey’s strong objections, had some months earlier begun developing an alternative. They embarked on secret talks with the Russians and the Syrian ruler Bashar Assad, hoping to gain special status for the three Kurdish territories in northern Syria, Kobane, Afrin and Hasakeh. Those talks will no doubt gather impetus now that the Americans have made their position known.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Nov. 26, the YPG turned the heat on Washington by releasing hitherto unpublished figures of US and NATO troops in two of their northern Syrian enclaves, Hasakeh and Kobane. The YPG spokesman reported a total of 2,000 US servicemen (four times the figure in official US publications) and 2,000 more from Germany, Britain and France. This was the first time that German and French military forces were known to be present in Syria. The YPG spokesman added that the US-led coalition had established 10 military bases in the Kurdish enclaves including air force facilities. DEBKAfile: After these disclosures, Washington and the European forces will not find it easy to pack up and leave the Kurdish enclaves in Syria.

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15 thoughts on “US halts arms supplies to Syrian Kurds at Turkey’s insistence

  • Nov 26, 2017 @ 19:13 at 19:13
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    These brave man have been betrayed.

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    • Nov 27, 2017 @ 7:44 at 7:44
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      Brave men and women have been betrayed.

      Reply
  • Nov 26, 2017 @ 23:51 at 23:51
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    Erdogan =Biggest fan of Camel anuses in the region.

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    • Nov 27, 2017 @ 2:55 at 2:55
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      You’re really into camels and amuses 🙂

      Reply
  • Nov 27, 2017 @ 11:17 at 11:17
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    Fight your own Battles and let the others fight their ones… Don’t be cannon fodder! The only proxy in the Middle East who can enjoy a real support is Hezbollah … They fight and die for their master in Teheran and the persians never let them down because a shiite dominated Lebanon is part of their end plan… The implementation of a Shiite crescent. Theran has a scheme. The only US scheme for the Middle East is war and destruction. There’s no big hope to see a Kurdish state. Kurdistan would be too small to survive. Israel is small too but it has a very strong influence on US policy… In other words the Kurds don’t have AIPAC. The Kurds might explore the scheme that the new ruller of Saudi Arabia has for the Middle East but they should jump onboard only if MBS’s scheme is on the long run, other way they will stand again alone in the rain like in Syria. Die for the US in Raqqa and than we will see doesn’t work. MBS is pragmatic enough to take Israel onboard and put the rethoric away. MBS is a Game changer.

    Reply
  • Nov 27, 2017 @ 11:29 at 11:29
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    Too bad. They might need them in the future.

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  • Nov 27, 2017 @ 13:17 at 13:17
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    “…Theran has a scheme. The only US scheme for the Middle East is war and destruction.” Hahaha Too funny.

    As if Tehran has a ‘scheme’ that doesn’t involve embroiling the whole region in war with the design of installing itself as the ultimate controlling power…its expansionist, its aggressive – its imperialist…God help us all if this bunch of totalitarians actually succeed.

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  • Nov 27, 2017 @ 14:17 at 14:17
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    Teheran is for sure expansionist, aggressive and imperialist but Hezbollah fits in their long term scheme… not just in their short term ones. The Kurds fitted just in a confused short term US scheme… they’ve just been used. I just wanted to outline that the Kurds, if they don’t want just to be used like it happened by the US in Syria, they need to find a new master with a clear long term scheme and they must fit in it in the long term. Is there any scheme out there in which a Kurdish state could fit as good as a Hezbollah dominated Lebanon in Teheran’s scheme? I’m not pro Teheran. Iran is as bad as the US for the Middle East and will cause lot of havoc in the region.

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  • Nov 27, 2017 @ 19:59 at 19:59
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    We should never do anything the sultan of turkey wants. The guy is anti western, anti israel. We should be arming and supporting the kurds. They are the only ones who don’t believe in islam as the ruler of all in that area.

    Reply
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  • Nov 28, 2017 @ 15:02 at 15:02
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    Erdogan, thinks he is Ataturk. He should be confronted. What can the Turks do? Kick us out of our air base. Then who will protect them from the Russians? The Kurds were far superior to any other U.S. allies in the region. We should not abandon them.

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  • Nov 29, 2017 @ 16:57 at 16:57
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    USA and Israel should stand with the Kurds. Establish Kurdistan.

    Never abandon those who are loyal to death.

    Reply
  • Nov 30, 2017 @ 13:40 at 13:40
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    when did the war start in Middle East for the oil?100 years ago after Ottoman authority finished ın the region.Kurdish brothers must know that if they could move with Turkey, they will win, so Turkey will win.One day USA, Russia etc. will go from the region.But Turks and Kurds will continue to live together as they do for thousand years.ıf we can be together noone can cut this tie.

    Reply
  • Dec 11, 2017 @ 19:50 at 19:50
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    Of course, the USA has to accommodate Erdogan. After all, Turkey is an ally of the USA. Well, on paper, Turkey is an ally of the USA. Erdogan permitted personnel, weapons and supplies to pass through Turkey to ISIS, and he refused to permit US warplanes to pass through Turkish air space. And, he used the military equipment that Turkey has acquired, by virtue of being a member of NATO, to attack the Kurds, who were, by far, the most effective, if not the only effective, ally of the USA in fighting ISIS. So, of course, the USA stops supplying weaponry to its most effective ally, because Erdogan, who wants to head up an Islamic Caliphate, objects.

    Reply

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