In nod to Turkey, the Pentagon also said US was reviewing ‘adjustments’ in arms for Syrian Kurdish forces.
(MEE) The United States plans to reduce military support for groups fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Iraq and Syria, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.
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Sanders said with ISIS’ territory shrinking, “we’re in a position to stop providing military equipment to certain groups, but that doesn’t mean stopping all support of those individual groups”.
On Friday, Turkey said President Donald Trump told President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that he had issued instructions that weapons should not be provided to the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters, which Ankara views as a threat.
The Pentagon also said on Monday that Washington was reviewing “adjustments” in arms for the Syrian Kurdish forces.
“We are reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-ISIS and stabilisation efforts will allow us to prevent ISIS from returning,” said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon, using a different acronym for IS.
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces played a major role in pushing ISIS militants out of large swathes of territory in Syria, including their de facto capital, Raqqa.
Earlier on Monday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Friday’s call between Trump and Erdogan was a turning point in strained ties between the two countries, but Washington must honour a pledge to stop providing weapons to the Syrian Kurds.
“The ‘We will not give weapons’ remark from a US president for the first time is important, but it will lose value if it is not implemented. It would be deceiving the world,” Bozdag said.
A White House readout of Friday’s phone call said Erdogan and Trump discussed combating terrorism in Syria.
“Consistent with our previous policy, President Trump also informed President Erdogan of pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria, now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilisation phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return,” the White House statement said.
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