Kurdish fighters of the SDF at the battlefront in Aleppo. Photo: ARA News
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WASHINGTON – The US Defence Secretary Ash Carter confirmed that the United States will continue to work with the Kurds as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“[The US] will continue to support and work with them. We have provided them with some equipment already and providing them arms. They [Kurds] are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” he said during the armed services senate committee hearing on Thursday.
Moreover, the defence secretary said he would do everything to help the SDF to move towards Raqqa, even if this means arming them.
“I support whatever is required to help them move in the direction of Raqqa,” he said.
General Joseph F. Dunford, Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff, also confirmed that the US continues to see the SDF as the main force against ISIS, but couldn’t answer if they would arm the Kurds.
“They are the most effective force we have right now and a force we need to go in Raqqa,” he said. “The reason I support the SDF is my priority to stop the planning and conducting of operations moving forward with the SDF towards Raqqa is the way to do that.”
However, Dunford said this force cannot hold Raqqa. “Currently we have identified 14,000 Arabs. We have a plan, but not resources,” he stated.
Recently the New York Times reported that the US administration is considering a plan to directly arm the Syrian Kurds to fight ISIS, after the Turkish intervention risked the US of losing Kurdish support to take the city of Raqqa.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg