President Trump has authorized a controversial Pentagon plan to supply weapons to Kurdish militias fighting Islamic State in Syria despite strong objections of the Turkish government, which views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump approved the plan to supply weapons “as necessary to ensure a clear victory” as Kurdish fighters and other militias close in on Raqqah, Islamic State's largest and most important stronghold in Syria.
The Pentagon has long backed the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of rebel groups that operates chiefly in northern Syria, with airstrikes, intelligence information and training.U.S. officials view the Kurdish militias, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, as the most capable part of the alliance.
But Turkey, a major U.S. ally and member of NATO, has angrily protested any American attempts to arm the YPG. The government in Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist force that seeks to create an independent Kurdish state in southern Turkey.