While the Obama administration haggles over its Syria strategy, a Kurdish militia that claims more than 25,000 battle-hardened fighters is poised several dozen miles north of the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa — ready to roll toward the extremists’ sanctuary.
U.S. Special Operations forces have been providing air support, training and supplies for the Syrian Kurdish group, the People’s Protection Units, known as the “YPG” from its Kurdish initials. A resupply shipment of about 100 pallets of arms and other aid has been positioned at a U.S. air base in the Gulf, awaiting Washington authorization for an airdrop to the Kurdish fighters.
“We have no objection to more cooperation with the U.S. and going ahead to Raqqa,” said Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party, which oversees the militia. But he said that any final assault on Raqqa should come from an estimated 5,000 Arab tribal forces in the region that are working with the YPG. Muslim spoke to me Tuesday by Skype from northeast Syria.