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US Should Directly Arm Syrian Kurds

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The United States should provide the Syrian Kurds with weapons and other militant material needed to take the city of Raqqa and fight ISIS in the Middle East.

Individuals of Kurdish descent living in Syria are known as Syrian Kurds. Currently, President Barack Obama and his administration are considering arming this group of individuals directly in order to aid in combat against the Islamic state, according to The New York Times.

Because of their location and desire to contest ISIS, the Kurds are an important ally for the United States. Unfortunately, the Kurds do not have strong, positive relations with Turkey, another critical ally for the United States in the Middle East. By aiding in a recent Turkish intervention, the U.S. upset Kurdish allies, according to ARA News.

Jordan Matson is an American volunteer with the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units in Syria. He told ARA News that Kurds likely would terminate their fight against ISIS if the United States continues to comply with the demands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Obama has stated that he would like to make significant progress in the fight against ISIS before he leaves office, according to The New York Times. Providing arms for Syria could be the first step in accomplishing this goal.

Not only would providing arms allow soldiers to fight more effectively against ISIS, the gesture would additionally demonstrate U.S. loyalty to the Kurds after making recent decisions that seem to favor Turkey.

Providing assistance to the Syrian Kurds, however, would upset allies in Turkey.

Given the fact that U.S. relations with Turkey, a long-time U.S. ally, are already strained, Obama has much to consider when making this decision.

On Sept. 21, Vice President Joe Biden met with Erdogan to discuss the maximization of peace in Turkey, according to White House reports.

The two leaders discussed, among other topics, ways to increase cooperation in the fight against ISIL and “the status of the Cessation of Hostilities in Syria,” according to the White House’s statement.

Biden assured Erdogan that the United States supports Turkey and its commitment to democracy. 

This support does not have to conflict with providing arms to the Kurdish people. The United States can support both allies separately in order to maximize peace in the Middle East.

While Turkish officials may become angry after the Obama administration decides to provide arms assistance to the Kurds, it is a wise decision that technically does not break negotiations with either ally.

The United States is not currently at war with Turkey. Fighting off ISIS and putting a stop to its efforts of terror is first on the list of priorities for the American government.

“Everyone knows ISIS is supported through Turkey, so the US needs to support us to shut the Turkish border in the face of terrorists,” said a Kurdish official to ARA News reporters.

The United States should take advantage of the opportunity to provide Syrian Kurds with arms to battle ISIS.

Sources: ARA News, The New York Times, White House / Photo credit: Beshr Abdulhadi/Flickr

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