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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

U.S. praises Kurds’ help against IS

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Nearly a year into a bombing campaign intended to degrade and destroy the Islamic State group, the United States finally may have found a reliable partner on the ground in Syria.

In comments Monday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter acknowledged that Kurdish fighters from the YPG militia are identifying bomb targets for U.S.-led airstrikes. It was the first public description by a senior Obama administration official detailing the cooperation between the United States and the militia, to which NATO ally Turkey has objected.

The militia’s success is one of the reasons the United States is intensifying its bombing campaign against Islamic State in Syria, Carter said.

“That’s what we were doing over the weekend north of Raqqa, which is conducting airstrikes that limit ISIL’s freedom of movement and ability to counter those capable Kurdish forces,” Carter said, referring to Islamic State by a common acronym.

President Barack Obama also spoke of an intensifying campaign in Syria on Monday after he attended a briefing at the Pentagon with Carter and other Pentagon officials.

“Over the past year we’ve seen that, when we have an effective partner on the ground, ISIL can be pushed back,” Obama said.