In the first public comments by a U.S. official about the cooperation between United States and the Syrian Kurdish YPG military units, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter spoke highly about the Kurdish units and their role as an effective local force against the Islamic State in Syria.
Effective US-Kurdish Partnership
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter praised the increasingly effective partnership with the Kurdish YPG saying:
“We are doing more in Syria from the air.. and the opportunity to do that effectively is provided… by the effective action on the ground by Kurdish forces.”
The YPG is the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish political party, the PYD. In his remarks, Secretary Carter recognized the long-term implications of its partnership with the YPG:
“That’s the manner in which effective and lasting defeat of ISIS will occur, when there are effective local forces on the ground that we can support and enable so that they can take territory, hold territory and make sure that good governance comes in behind it.”
Increasing Airstrikes Against ISIS in Syria
American praise of the Kurdish forces in Syria comes for the first time in months, and signals a strengthening of U.S.-Kurdish partnership. This strengthened partnership means an increase of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria.
Previously lacking a reliable partner on the ground in Syria, the United States was reluctant to attack the Islamic State’s Syrian positions, instead focusing on partnering with the Kurds and Iraqi Army against the Islamic State in northern Iraqi Kurdistan.[Read more at the Miami Herald]