US providing Syrian Kurds with arms ‘natural’, says PYD co-leader

Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-leader Salih Muslim.

Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-leader Salih Muslim on Tuesday said that the US provision of heavy weapons to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) was “natural”.

“The Raqqa campaign is running in parallel with the international coalition against terrorism. It’s natural that they would provide weapons” to the SDF and the armed groups fighting as part of it, Muslim told Reuters.

The controversial decision was made official on Tuesday night after being approved by US President Donald Trump on Monday, reports said.

Several high profile Turkish officials, including intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and General Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, were in Washington to prevent the decision and persuade the US to conduct the operation on Raqqa with Turkish forces, but were unsuccessful, commentators have said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit Trump on 16 May, however there are speculations that he may cancel the visit after the decision to directly arm the YPG, a group Ankara views as a “terrorist group”.