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Military considerations

May 11,2017 - Last updated at May 11,2017

The US could be on a collision course with Turkey over President Donald Trump’s recent decision to go ahead and arm and support the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) despite Ankara’s protestations since the force contains strong elements from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish militia in Syria, which Ankara views as affiliated with the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party, Turkey’s archenemy. 

Ankara has been locked for several decades in war with PKK, which it accuses of fighting to split the Turkish nation along ethnic lines.

Recent estimates put the number of Kurds in Turkey at about 20 million, a sizeable minority scattered in many parts of the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet with Trump later this month and is sure to raise this concern with him.

The Turkish leader accuses Kurdish militant groups of threatening his country’s territorial integrity.

This growing Turkish complex against anything Kurdish, whether military or otherwise, has spilled over to the fighting Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq, creating more animosity between their assorted supporters.

Commenting about Ankara’s concerns, the Pentagon spokeswoman said recently that “we are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey” and “we want to assure the people and government of Turkey that the US is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally”, but the US sees no real threat to Turkey from the US joining forces with local fighting Kurds to finish up the job in Raqqa.

Ankara needs to see the broader picture and recognise that the Kurds in the region have legitimate concerns and aspirations that cannot be denied forever.

What the US wishes to do in Syria is to finish off the battle for Raqqa, Daesh’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria and its hub for launching attacks against the West and forces allied with it.


The role of the YPG in this battle is critical and the US sees no alternative but to assist and support its fighters in the final battle for this Syrian city.

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