In a major boost for forces fighting Islamic State extremists in Syria but likely to stir controversy with NATO ally Turkey, the United States began airdropping pallets of weapons and ammunition to its Syrian Kurdish militia and allied Arab forces in northern Syria.
“They started dropping the arms in Rojava early this morning,” said Polat Can, the spokesman for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdish political party whose armed wing, with the help of U.S. bombing, has pushed the Islamic State from as much as 6,800 square miles of northern Syria. Rojava, or “west Kurdistan,” is the name the PYD uses to refer to northern Syria’s Kurdish areas.
Meanwhile, Russia aircraft continued to bomb targets in Syria’s west, far removed from the main operating areas of the Islamic State group, while the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, stepped up his efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, scheduling visits to Moscow and Washington. He said his first priority was to make certain that Russian military intervention doesn’t spread the conflict. […]