The Trump administration will provide heavier weapons to Syria’s Kurds as they and their allies move closer to an attack on the key Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The decision is meant to accelerate the Raqqa operation, but it clashes with the Turkish government’s view that the Syrian Kurdish group known as the YPG is an extension of Kurdish terrorist organization that operates in Turkey.

The U.S. sees the Kurds as its most effective battlefield partner against IS in northern and eastern Syria. After lengthy deliberations, the administration approved plans to provide additional weaponry to the Kurds. A full list wasn’t immediately available, but officials had indicated in recent days that 120mm mortars, machines guns, ammunition and light armored vehicles were possibilities. They said the U.S. would not provide artillery or surface-to-air missiles. READ MORE