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Looming dilemma for the US: Disarm the YPG or not?

The Trump administration has to decide whether it will disarm the Syrian Democratic Forces and the People's Protection Units to assuage Turkey.
Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) run across a street in Raqqa, Syria July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1F9D39A050

Turkish-American joint air and ground patrols have been in progress for a month in the areas east of the Euphrates, particularly between Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain. Yet, in reality, even the lexicons of the patrols are not joint in nature. Ankara defines the ground operations as “joint efforts to establish safe zones,” while the United States calls them a “security mechanism.” What is clear is that both armies intend to expand their efforts southward.

There is, however, an issue that will impede cooperation: heavy weaponry supplied by the US Army to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Weaponry such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and multiple rocket launchers have mostly been transferred to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — a sister organization of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey and the United States consider a terrorist organization. 

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