Speed Reads

middle east

U.S. to stop arming Kurdish militia in Syria

The United States will no longer supply weapons to the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, President Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a call Friday. Ankara first announced the promise, and Washington confirmed it hours later without specifying when the change would happen.

The Kurds are U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State, but Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group because of its ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought Turkey for years for Kurdish independence or at least autonomy.

Also Friday, officials told Reuters the Pentagon is set to acknowledge the presence of roughly 2,000 U.S. troops working with these Kurdish fighters as well as their Arab allies in Syria. The Department of Defense has made a habit of underreporting force levels in the Middle East, previously claiming just 503 troops in Syria.