US-led coalition denies supplying ammunition to Syrian Kurds by helicopter


A Kurdish fighter of the YPG at the fighting front against ISIS in Sere Kaniye in northeastern Syria. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil – Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the US-led Coalition, denied that the United States had provided ammunition to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

According to regional media outlets, several US helicopters landed at a YPG base in northern Syria to deliver ammunition and equipment. There were also unconfirmed reports of US-V22 Ospreys dropping off materiel in Kobani, earlier this week.

“I’ll just tell you this, it’s not US policy to provide weapons, by helicopter or any other means, to the YPG,” reiterated Lt Gen Townsend. “We do provide equipment, including weapons and training, to the Syrian Arab Corps or Syrian Arab Coalition, which is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

The YPG is the largest organization within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US-led coalition recently confirmed that it has provided ammunition in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ Euphrates Wrath Operation.

“The Coalition supports the SDF through training, advise and assist operations, airstrikes and material support,” the US-led coalition said in a statement earlier this week. “Since the start of the operation, the Coalition conducted more than 300 strikes, delivering more than 850 munitions in support of its partners on the ground.”

The US-led coalition has diverged from its stated policy during critical operations, providing arms directly to the YPG. Notably, during the siege of Kobani and the Sinjar offensive. The Turkish Government consistently opposes all foreign aid to confederalist Kurdish forces.

Additional US Forces Inbound

Last Saturday, The US-led coalition announced that it will send an additional 200 American Special Operations Forces (SOF) soldiers to Raqqa Governorate, in order to accelerate the Euphrates Wrath Operation.

“200 US SOF will deploy to Syria to enable operations towards Raqqa,” declared Brett McGurk, the anti-ISIS Special Presidential Envoy. “The SDF launched the 2nd phase of Raqqa strangulation this morning.”

“The latest commitment of additional forces within Syria is another important step in enabling our partners to defeat ISIS,” said US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, during the Manama Dialogue Conference in Bahrain.

In the meantime, the US President Barack Obama has waived prohibitions in the US Arms Export Control Act, authorizing the US to equip the SDF and its allies. American officials clarified that the waiver would not be used to arm groups in Aleppo city; only groups fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Syria.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that Washington is only “talking about [arming] partner forces that we’re working with in northern Syria,” in an oblique reference to the SDF.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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