TRUMP SCRAPPED OBAMA’S PLAN ON RAQQA




İlknur Şebnem Öztemel – TDO – According to The Washington Post, Trump administration scrapped plans by former President Barack Obama to arm Kurdish fighters in northern Syria as it would likely fail. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has not introduced a new strategy yet.

Commander Gen. Joseph Votel asked for authorization to back Kurdish forces in the fall of 2016 but officials delayed to have a decision as they fear it would alienate Turkey which is strongly against strengthening of Kurdish militants in Northern Syria as they have organic links with Kurdish People Workers Party (PKK), further.

Three weeks before Trump's inauguration, Votel and Dunford formally requested to give armored vehicles, anti-tank weapons, machine guns and mine-clearing equipment  to  Kurds and asserted  that delaying the delivery could drag the Raqqa operation out for another year.

It has been announced that USA supplied these armored vehicles to Kurdish militants on Tuesday. However, Colonel John Dorrian said that they had transferred vehicles to the Syrian Arab Coalition, not to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Also the Popular Defense Units (YPG), an important part of SDF, denied receiving arms too.

At the first week of January, Kurdish led SDF declared that they had driven Deash fighters from 133 villages in the north east of Raqqa, as a part of Operation Wrath of Euphrates.

Offensive to Raqqa has started late due to disagreement on the local group that would be armored and controlled by the U.S. led coalition. USA insisted on the attendance of suspicious Kurdish militants to the operation while Turkey has deep concerns about them.

Meanwhile Turkey has engaged Operation Euphrates Shield to protect its borders from Deash and PKK. Now Turkish led forces are about to get Al-Bab. In late 2016, YPG commanders complained about Turkey’s military operation against terrorists and threatened USA as unless Turkey stop bombing, they would not be able to join to siege of Raqqa, powerfully.

Most of the Western states and writers criticized Turkey, an ally, without even looking to number of terrorist attacks happened in recent months.  Now Trump administration plan to give official military support to these shady militants.