U.S. commanders want Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria to keep the weapons supplied by the Pentagon after the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces from the war-torn country, 4 U.S. officials told the Reuters news agency on December 29.
“How are we going to get them back and who is going to take them back?” Reuters quoted one of the officials as saying.
The news agency said that the discussion on this matter is still at an early stage inside the Pentagon and no decision has been made. Once ready, the plan will be presented to U.S. President Donald Trump, who will be making the final decision.
The Pentagon supplied tons of weapons, including armored vehicles and anti-tank missiles, to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since 2014 under the pretext of fighting ISIS. The delivery of these weapons sparked new crisis between Washington and Ankara as the late consider the group’s core, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a terrorist organization.
“Planning is ongoing, and focused on executing a deliberate and controlled withdrawal of forces while taking all measures possible to ensure our troops’ safety,” Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said commenting on Reuters’ report.
In late 2017, Trump told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that the U.S. will not supply any more weapons to Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. However, the promise is yet to be fulfilled.
These attempts to keep advanced weapons in the hands of Kurdish forces will likely lead to a new fallout between the U.S. and Turkey that’s planning to launch a large-scale military operation in northeastern Syria.