Pentagon is currently reviewing the process it uses to provide equipment and weapons to Kurdish fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but has not halted sending weapons yet, The Hill reports.
According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning, the department is “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-[Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and stabilization efforts will allow us to prevent ISIS from returning.”
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last week said that President Donald Trump promised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States would no longer supply arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the SDF Kurds, known as the YPG, to be an extension of outlawed Kurdish insurgents within its country, the Kurdistan Workers Party, The Hill adds.
“President Trump clearly stated that he had given clear instructions and that the YPG won’t be given arms, and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago,” Cavusoglu said in a news conference last week.
However, the White House released a statement later on that confirmed that two discussed the topic, but did not commit to a full-on ban.
“Consistent with our previous policy, President Trump also informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return,” the White House statement read.
The U.S. military in May began providing the Kurds with equipment and weapons to aid in the SDF fight against ISIS after Trump signed off on the plan to help retake the Syrian city of Raqqa, The Hill notes.