Syrian Kurds get US advanced weapon, Pentagon denies supplies

Monday, 8 May, 2017 - 14:00

The gear includes U.S.-manufactured night-vision goggles, rifles and advanced optics among other items, the same as that used by American special operations forces and the foreign commando units they train. In northern Syria, where about 900 American advisers are supporting separate coalitions comprising thousands of Kurdish and Arab conscripts, it’s been fielded by the People’s Protection Unit. The militia, widely known as the YPG, has emerged as the U.S. military’s most trustworthy and capable proxy on the ground.

The development is likely to infuriate Turkey, which considers the YPG a terrorist group, and could prove problematic for President Donald Trump and his national security team.

While the Pentagon acknowledges arming some allies inside Syria, typically with AK-47 assault rifles and other basic Russian-made weapons, U.S. military officials denied providing anything to the YPG.

There are an estimated 40,000 YPG fighters in northern Syria. The elite YAT is believed in number in the hundreds, though it's unclear precisely how large the secretive commando force is.

Washington's relationship with the Kurds is complicated by Ankara’s insistence they are a militant Syrian arm of the PKK, an internationally designated terrorist organization responsible for numerous deadly attacks inside Turkey dating back decades. The Turkish government wants the YPG destroyed and bitterly resents any effort to enable the group's combat capabilities.

Source: MilitaryTimes.