President Donald Trump signed off on a plan Tuesday to provide arms directly to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in a renewed effort to defeat the Islamic State in Syria.
According to NBC News, Trump's order "allows the process [of providing arms] to begin to function." The order now goes to the Pentagon, which will carry out the president's instructions.
The administration believes there should be quick turnaround for a least part of the order since certain U.S. equipment is already in the region.
The U.S. is expected to provide bulldozers and other engineering machines intended to breach ISIS attacks. The U.S. government is also likely to send the Syrian Kurds more rifles, ammunition, armor and radios for communication.
The ultimate goal in providing more arms to the Syrian Kurds is to eventually take over the city of Raqqa, Syria, an ISIS stronghold that has been occupied by the radical group since 2014.
According to chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, the Syrian Democratic Forces, a group of Arab, Christian and Turkmen fighters overseen by the YPG, is "the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.
The move is likely to upset the government of Turkey, which views the Syrian Democratic Forces as a threat. Turkey considers the YPG as an arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which both the U.S. and Turkey agree is a terrorist organization, the Washington Post reported.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked Tuesday during the White House press briefing if Trump discussed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the decision to arm the Syrian Kurds. Spicer said he is not aware of any discussions regarding the decision between the two leaders.
(H/T: Washington Post)