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Spicer Announces U.S. Will Start Arming Kurds in Syria

The move, long supported by U.S. commanders, comes in the face of opposition from NATO ally Turkey.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced Tuesday at a press briefing that the United States will begin arming Kurdish forces in Syria in an effort to intensify pressure on the Islamic State.

“Yesterday, the president authorized the Department of Defense to equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIS in Raqqa, Syria,” Spicer said.

The White House expressed the belief that only the SDF, with air support from coalition forces, holds the capacity to knock ISIS out in Syria.

Spicer acknowledged Turkey’s concerns and said the United States reaffirmed its commitment to the NATO member’s security.

The Obama administration had settled on the same policy late in its term, but ran out of time to “pull the trigger” on support, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Turkey has been opposed to support for the Syrian Kurds due to their lingering domestic struggles with an ethnic Kurdish minority. In some instances, Turkey has even taken military action against the Kurds in Syria.