US commanders recommend letting Syrian Kurdish fighters keep weapons
US commanders planning for the withdrawal of troops from Syria have recommended that Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State group be allowed to keep US-supplied weapons, officials said.
The People's Protection Units (YPG) have been the backbone of an alliance that has spearheaded the US-backed fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.
US President Donald Trump announced this week that roughly 2,000 US troops would leave Syria, where they have been deployed to assist in a multinational fight against IS.
US officials told Reuters that recommendations that Kurdish fighters keep US-supplied weapons were part of discussions on a draft plan by the US military, with no decision made yet.
The Pentagon said it would be "inappropriate" and premature to comment on what will happen with the weapons.
Trump's shock announcement to withdraw troops from Syria has upset US commanders, the officials said, with many viewing it as a betrayal of the Kurdish YPG militia.
The US has told the YPG that they would be armed by Washington until the fight against IS is complete.
"The fight isn't over. We can't simply start asking for the weapons back," one of the US officials told Reuters.
The US began distributing arms and equipment to the YPG in May 2017 for an offensive in Raqqa against IS, and told Turkey it would take the weapons back after the defeat of the Islamic State.
The Pentagon keeps records of US-supplied weapons but US officials have said it would be nearly impossible to locate all of the equipment.
Trump's national security adviser John Bolton will visit Turkey and Israel next week for talks on Syria.
The Syrian army entered the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years on Friday after the Kurds, left exposed by a US pledge to pull out its own troops, asked for the regime's help to face a threatened Turkish offensive.
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