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Turkey, Kurds project confidence as Pentagon plans next Syria moves

With the Pentagon close to producing new plans to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and Turkish leaders both insist that the United States will pursue an alliance with them, and US officials keep feeding hopes on both sides.
U.S. President Donald Trump attends a lunch with members of the U.S. military during a visit at the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) headquarters in Tampa, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX2ZWGG

With a Feb. 28 deadline for the Pentagon to deliver revised plans to defeat the Islamic State in Syria fast approaching, speculation is rife as to what they will contain and the main players are spinning their own versions of a likely outcome.

The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their Arab allies who operate under the umbrella of the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) insist that the Pentagon will pursue its alliance with them, culminating in the liberation of Raqqa. Turkish leaders, who are infuriated by the partnership because of the YPG’s close links to Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels fighting for autonomy inside Turkey, keep hinting that the Donald Trump administration is ready to see things their way, ditch the Kurds and embrace Turkish plans to do the job with Free Syrian Army rebels. And in a replay of the Barack Obama administration’s efforts to juggle relations with Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, US officials keep feeding hopes on both sides.

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