>> After President Trump abruptly ordered a complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria two weeks ago, one question quickly arose. What to do with all the weapons the US supplied to Kurdish forces in the region? In 2017, the US started distributing arms and equipment to the Kurdish YPG Militia for an offensive against ISIS in Raqqa.
The United States told Turkey it would take back the weapons after the defeat of ISIS, which has lost all but a few slivers of territory in Northeastern Syria. But four US officials told Reuters that US commanders planning for the withdrawal are now recommending that Kurdish fighters battling ISIS be allowed to keep the weapons.
A move that would likely anger NATO ally Turkey. Reuters Turkey bureau chief Dominic Evans.>> Turkey has complained for years about US support in Syria for the Kurdish YPG Militia. Turkey says that group is a terrorist organization and the partnership between the US and the Kurds has been a source of friction between Turkey and the United States.
>> Trump's rash decision drew widespread criticism and even prompted his own Defense Secretary to resign. And while Turkey may welcome the US abandoning its Kurdish allies in the region, such an abrupt shift in policy may be too much to bite off for Ankara.>> US troops had been supporting the Kurdish forces across nearly a quarter of the country.
And if they pull out in the next few months, as Trump says they will do, that leaves a whole area of Northeastern Syria open to all sorts of regional powers. Not just Turkey, but the Syrian government itself, and its Russian and Iranian backers.>> Three US officials told Reuters the recommendation to allow the Kurds to keep their weapons were part of discussions on a draft planned by the US military.
It's unclear what the Pentagon will ultimately recommend to the White House. Turkey's fear is that those very weapons will one day be turned on them.