Mattis: US arms for Syrian Kurds will continue after Raqqa

Turkish army tank and armoured vehicle near the Turkey Syria border in August 2016

Mattis said the USA gave the fighters weapons they needed for the urban fighting they are facing in Raqqa.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units continue to fight against Turkey-backed groups south of Azaz and in the Afrin district in Aleppo province. Those were after Turkish warplanes attacked YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga positions in northern Syrian and Iraq, killing several USA partnered forces.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish army launched on Wednesday airstrikes against the Kurdish People's Protection Unit in northern Syria, in response to the latter's firing at factions from the Free Syrian Army, which is mainly backed by Ankara.

Ankara considers the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is outlawed in Turkey and is also considered a "terrorist group" by the U.S. and the European Union.

Turkey has reiterated its opposition to the U.S. arming of Kurdish YPG militia in Syria.

The U.S.is convinced that the Kurdish fighters, known as the YPG, are the most effective local force in trying to oust IS militants from their stronghold in Raqqa.

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Heavy fighting has also been reported between Turkish-backed rebels and YPG forces in the Afrin area.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened the United States on Sunday over its arming of Kurdish forces in Syria, calling for a review of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military alliance in response.

On Thursday, Kurtulmus repeated the Turkish government's criticism of the United States administration and called the arming of the YPG a result of United States "indecision".

As of this Monday, reports suggest that the SDF have largely managed to successfully encircle the city of Raqqa, but the urban battle to rid the city of ISIS terrorists will be arduous.

Mattis said the USA has made it clear all along that, "we're going to equip them for the fight". Mattis responded to the question of whether aid would be a weapon or not.

In a letter sent to Turkish counterpart, Fikri Işık last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that the US will regularly share the list of materials that YPG supplies with Turkey every month. Mattis was also non-commital when asked if all the weapons the Kurds received had to be returned Mattis said: "We'll do what we can".

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