Kurds and Arab allies within 25 miles of Ragga as they take key real estate

An alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters has announced it has taken a strategically important town from so-called Islamic State (IS).

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they had "completely liberated" the town and its nearby dam, which are 40km (25 miles) west of IS-stronghold Raqqa.

It comes a day after the US said it was going to arm members of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG), which are fighting for the SDF.

That decision has angered Turkey.

It considers the YPG an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for three decades.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fight against the jihadists should not involve "another terrorist group".

But Washington disagrees and insists the YPG - which leads the SDF's alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias that has driven the extremists from about 6,000 sq km (2,300 sq miles) of northern Syria over the past two years, with the help of US-led coalition air strikes - is needed to capture IS-held Raqqa.
There is more.

The Kurds have been effective fighters even without the new arms, so getting them should make them more efficient as they drive toward Raqqa to displace ISIS.  Erdogan has not been nearly as helpful in dealing with ISIS, so his complaints appear more like sour grapes than a reasoned argument.  Turkey has been an inconsistent lousy ally through much of the fight against radical Islam.


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