Turkish warning to US may be in vain but right

In a last-minute effort on May 31, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged the U.S. administration to "row back" from its mistake in Syria and stop arming the militia of the People's Protection Units (YPG) for the operation to take the town of Raqqa from the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), since the YPG is the Syria extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting Turkey and is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. as well.

"Such steps are extremely dangerous for Syria's unity and territorial integrity," Çavuşoğlu said, implying that YPG/PKK was aiming to establish autonomous regions next to Turkey's border.

"These weapons could be used against all of humanity, not just Turkey," he added.  

The statement came a day after the Pentagon announced that more arms had started to be delivered to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose backbone is the YPG, for the Raqqa campaign. Despite a Pentagon statement that only small-caliber arms were being delivered to the "Kurdish elements of the SDF," there are reports that armored vehicles, TOW anti-tank missiles and 120 mm mortars have also been delivered to SDF units.

The U.S. choice of the YPG as the ground partner against ISIL has been a major problem between the two NATO allies since 2014 under the Barack Obama administration. Due to bitter experiences from the invasion of Iraq, Obama did not want to send U.S. troops to Syria against ISIL and moved to train and equip the PKK's Syrian extension, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its military wing, the YPG, as the ground force under the coordination of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan broached the subject with President Donald Trump a number...

Continue reading on: