WASHINGTON, May 9, 2017 —
A Pentagon official today offered reassurances to Turkey following President Donald J. Trump's authorization yesterday for the Defense Department to equip Kurdish elements in Syria fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
In a statement, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said the Syrian Democratic Forces, partnered with enabling support from U.S. and coalition forces, are the only force on the ground that can successfully seize control of the Syrian city of Raqqa in the near future.
"We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey," White said. "We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally."
The United States continues to prioritize its support for Arab elements of the SDF, she said, adding that Raqqa and all liberated territory should return to the governance of local Syrian Arabs.
"The fight for Raqqa will be long and difficult," she said, "but will ultimately be yet another defeat for ISIS and another step toward eliminating the ISIS threat to peace and security in the region and the world."