MUNICH - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday left open the possibility of longer-term assistance to Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, saying the US may need to supply them weapons and equipment even after the capture of Raqqa from Islamic State.
NATO ally Turkey, which views the YPG as a threat, has said Mattis assured it in a letter that the United States would eventually take back the weapons it was giving them once Islamic State was defeated.
Mattis, in his first public remarks on the issue, did not directly dispute that account.
"We'll do what we can," Mattis told reporters during his flight to Germany, when asked about weapons recovery.
But Mattis also noted that YPG fighters were well-armed even before the US last month decided to offer more specialized equipment for its urban assault on Islamic State-held city of Raqqa.