Syrian War Report – May 10, 2017: Trump Administration Approves New Plan To Arm Kurdish Forces

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The administration of US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to directly arm Kurdish forces operating in Syria, the Pentagon said. Spokeswoman Dana W. White said the president made the decision Monday, describing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

The mainstream media and US officials have repeatedly argued that the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are a “multi-ethnic and multi-religious alliance” fighting against ISIS. However, since the formation of the SDF, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) have remained the core of the organization. The upcoming advance on the ISIS-held city of Raqqa has pushed Washington to accept the reality publicly and to make a decision to army YPG and YPJ on an official level.

Meanwhile, Ankara argues that YPG and YPJ are terrorist groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The decision to arm Kurdish militias in Syria will further damage the already shaky US-Turkish relations.

Meanwhile, the SDF, backed up by US-led coalition forces, is still fighting against ISIS militants inside the town of Tabqa west of Raqqa. In late April and in early May, pro-SDF sources repeatedly spread reports that the town and the nearby dam were almost under the full control of the SDF. However, videos and photos appearing from the ground contested these reports.

Now, the number of ISIS militants operating in Tabqa and the Tabqa dam is estimated between 100 and 200 fighters and they are in very bad tactical situation. It’s expected that the town and the dam will be fully secured by the SDF this month.

Western backed militants have been trying to counter-attack Syrian army troops advancing in the desert southeast of Damascus. However, government forces were able to defend their gains in the area. Earlier this month, government troops have captured more than 70 square kilometers east of  the al-Seen Military Airbase, setting control over Beir al-Siba, the Mount Sabahiyat and the Rishi, Tal Shahab, al-Sabab Biyar and the Zaza Checkpoint. In case of further advances, the Syrian army will attempt to reach areas controlled by the 5th Assault Corps south of Palmyra.

In northern Hama, sporadic clashes continued in the area of Zaqilyat. However, the situation remained relatively calm as no sides were launching large attempts in order to change the current status quo.

In eastern Damascus, militants and their families have been evacuating from the area of Qaboun under a fresh deal with the government. The evacuation will include few stages and then the area will be transferred under the control of government forces. So far, about 1,000 have officially left the area to Idlib.

Reports are circulating in various sources that the government advance with a strategic goal to reach the city of Deir Ezzor will be launched soon. This operation will be possible only if the safe zones agreement signed in Astana and implementing a ceasefire in a number of areas in Syria will be kept by all the sides.

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  • Miguel Redondo

    Well, lets put some pieces together….

    Gazprom begins Turkish Stream pipeline construction

    https://www.rt.com/business/387528-gazprom-turkish-stream-start-construction/

    Turkey warns US against arming Syrian Kurd ‘terrorists,’ ponders end of ‘strategic partnership’

    https://www.rt.com/news/387834-turkey-kurds-us-support/

    TRUMP ADMINISTRATION APPROVES NEW PLAN TO ARM KURDISH FORCES

    ……

    For me the picture is clear

    Erdogan is changeing sides and has a new deal with Vladimir Putin. With “Turkish Stream” and Gazprom he has his desired pipeline for gas to supply Europe. He doesn´t need anymore the qatari solution.
    On the other hand Trump has openly let him hung to dry with his arm supplies to the kurds.

    I think Erdogan wants to become a member of the Moskow-Teheran-Damascus Axis.

    • John

      So, you are saying he is leaving the NATO Axis for a better deal from another one?

      • Miguel Redondo

        Basically yes , at minimum he is playing on both sides openly. For Erdogan business is most important. Gazprom would not start to build the pipes at the black sea if they are not sure that they will finish the job.

        • Barba_Papa

          On the other hand NATO is not something you easily leave. As in you also lose a lot of its benefits. Even the French, when they still had some balls under DeGaulle, only withdrew from NATO militarily, diplomatically they remained part of it. Which gave them the option to still cooperate with the rest of NATO if they wanted to and disavow the parts and policies they didn’t want to be part of.

          Something similar would still be damaging to NATO and the US, as the Inçirlik base would now be off limits to the US.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            the only country, which left nato for sevaral years was greece.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          sure not

    • paolo duchateau

      yes Erdogan is trapped by “Astana” and u-s to. Splendid political strategy. By the way Erdogan fears Russia. Turkey in history losed each war against Russia and at the last coup d’etat against him by CIA, Russia saved his ass…

  • dutchnational

    If Erdogan can arm IS and all the other Islamist jihadis, I see no reason why the US cannot arm the YPG. Because Erdogan is not happy? Erdogan makes many in the West unhappy too.

    • Samuel Boas

      The US arms everyone but the Syrian Army. The SAA is the only army that deserves weapons. America needs to stop arming ISIS, Al-Qaeda, FSA and the kurdish traitors.

  • Jonathan Cohen

    Not clear on why SAA and NewSA are fighting each other in the South when both have fronts in the area on which to attack ISIS, and both could use territory seized from ISIS to flank each other, thus competing without fighting directly.

    • John

      The NewSA is basically another invasion force of Syria. My take is that they will get crushed when their time comes, by the SAA. Right now, they are not the biggest fish to fry. Have a good evening Jonathan.

  • gustavo

    Turkey is still member of NATO organization. Until officially Turkey is declared out of NATO, Turkey will be out of NATO, meanwhile it is haard to believe anything about Turkey, and I do not think it could be a good allied of Rusia-Iran-Syria ( not way). However, Russia suminstration of gas to Europe will depend strongly on Turkey…will Turkey become another Ukrania ?

  • The Grand Öksökö

    The most idiotic country ever: USA.

    One day we will conquer Usa as well.