The United States will no longer provide weapons to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia fighting ISIS in northern Syria.
In a statement on Saturday, the Turkish presidency confirmed that Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan, and U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster held a phone call on Friday during which McMaster reiterated that the United States would discontinue supply of weapons to the YPG.
The Turkish incursion in northwest Syria’s Afrin against the YPG has strained ties with the United States. Ankara took offense that the US is providing arms, training and air support to the Syrian Kurdish forces, and Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging insurgency in Turkey’s Kurdish southeast region for about 30 years.
Erdogan had warned that the Turkish forces could push all the way east to the frontier with Iraq, after sweeping Kurdish fighters from the Syrian border, and that increased the possibility of confrontation with U.S. forces allied to the Kurds.
The Pentagon has tried to deflate the tension by assuring Turkey that it carefully tracks weapons provided to the YPG, an effort aim at stopping further Turkish advance towards Manbij. Turkish advance could also threaten U.S. efforts in northern Syria, and in addition endanger the 2,000 US troops stationed there officially as part of the international coalition against Islamic State