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US starts providing weapons to the Syrian Kurds ahead of Raqqa assault

WASHINGTON – The United States began on Tuesday to deliver weapons to the Kurdish fighters on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, the Pentagon said.

Spokesman Eric Pahon said Tuesday that the weapons delivery to the Syrian Kurds included small arms and ammunition. It marks the beginning of a campaign to better equip Kurdish allies that the U.S.-led coalition is of the opinion that the best fighting force against the Islamic State, while arming them has infuriated NATO-ally Turkey.

Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists. The US has promised to meet the equipment step-by-step, based on the mission, to ensure that weapons are not being used by Kurdish groups in Turkey.

On Tuesday, Kurdish-led fighters in Syria concluded within a radius of about 2 km (three miles) from Raqqa, where they are confronted with a long and deadly fight. Roadside bombs and other explosives are supposed to be planted along their routes within the city.

AMERICAN officials have said that the weapons deliveries are heavy machine guns, ammo, 120mm mortars, armored vehicles, and possibly TOW anti-tank missiles. She said that the US would not offer artillery or surface-to-air missiles.

Separately Tuesday, the Pentagon all the way up threats against the pro-Syrian government forces patrolling in an area near the Jordanian border, where the U.S.-led coalition is training the allied rebels. Officials described in the pro-government forces and iran-backed.

The U.S. dropped leaflets warning the forces to leave the area and U.s. military officials said that the same message is conveyed, in recent discussions with the Russian commanders. Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the leaflets told the pro-government forces to leave the established protected zone, which is approximately 55 miles around an area where U.S. and coalition forces have worked.

Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. bombed the iran-backed forces in the same area of Syria, and not in eight similar warnings to leave.

According to the Syrian and the officials of the V. S., the bombing killed several soldiers and vehicles destroyed and other weapons and equipment.

Davis said that the U.S. has seen the militias are active in the desert around Tanf. The area was considered a “deconflicted” zone under a U.S.-Russian understanding.

“Hundreds” of pro-government forces in the region, Davis said, but he was not sure how many are actually within the zone.

Pentagon said that they are not sure or that troops Syrian, Iranian, Hezbollah or other militias fighting on Assad’s name. On the Tanf military camp near the Jordanian border, U. S. special operations forces are working with a Syrian opposition group in the operations against IS.

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