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Kurdish militants promise to 'build a free Syria' after US decision to arm them

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), one of the main Kurdish militia groups in Syria, has proclaimed its aim to "build a free Syria" using the arms sent to them by the United States.

The statement, made by YPG spokesman Redur Xelil, promises a Syria "where all people will live together freely, defeating the dark forces with the support of the forces of the international coalition."

It comes after the Trump administration's decision on Tuesday to formally begin arming the group, which is the military wing of the left-wing separatist Democratic Union Party (PYD), as it sees it as the only group fit enough to win against Daesh and to capture its capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa.

US military commanders have long argued that the surest and quickest way of defeating Daesh is to arm the Kurds, who are major players in the conflict in Syria.

Xelil said:

YPG has proved to the whole world, especially the international coalition forces, that it is the main force fighting terrorism."

Read: Turkey to US: 'You can't be in the same sack as terrorists'

Turkey says that the PYD and YPG are linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Kurdish Marxist-inspired militia which is officially listed as a terrorist group by several countries and even international organisations such as NATO and the EU. However, the PYD, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has denied any links to the PKK, despite portraits of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan featuring prominently in their training camps.

The YPG statement is sure to raise controversy, as fears have previously been voiced by Turkey of the US decision to arm the Kurds that they will stockpile weapons and will later use them to launch further conflict as well as terrorist attacks for the sake of their independence after Daesh is defeated.

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Asia & AmericasEUEurope & RussiaInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNATONewsSyriaTurkeyUS
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