BEIRUT, LEBANON (0:02 A.M.) – The US started equipping Kurdish groups within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to increase their combat strength for the eventual battle for Raqqa against ISIS. While Al-Masdar News already obtained and published materials and information showing the US arms delivery efforts on February 2 and the SDF announced the first receivement of US arms already on January 31, this Wednesday the US administration admitted these efforts for the first time via two media channels.
First the American news network NBC reported, officials had told them, “that the American military has begun to provide equipment and weapons to the Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces” within the last 24 hours. Then later the Russian RT news network published citations of Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon, giving credence to the reports and more details on the arms deliveries:
“Overall, the equipment the US-led coalition will provide to the SDF includes small arms, ammunition, heavy machine guns and weapons capable of defeating specific threats our partner forces are expected to encounter as they take the fight to a desperate enemy, such as heavily-armored vehicle-borne IEDs”.
Weapons to counter IEDs are basically TOW weapon systems, which can also be used to attack tanks. In addition to the assets mentioned by Pahon, the Kurdish groups also receive different sorts of armored combat vehicles.
While US President Trump officially approved the delivery of the combat equipment to the Kurds three weeks ago, the Turkish President Erdogan voiced vehement opposition to the arming of the Kurds.
Turkey considers the kurdish group YPG which leads the SDF, to be connected with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The PKK is categorised as a terrorist group in Turkey and leads heavy clashes with the Turkish military in regions close to the Syrian and Iraqi border, while Turkey erases entire city centers of PKK strongholds. But Iran also had troubles with Kurdish armed groups lately and surgent Kurdish movements threaten to undermine territorial integrity both of Iraq and Syria.
The US tries to demonstrate confidence, that the weapons will only be used in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), but recent reports and tons of US arms already in the hands of the very same Islamic State, indicate the opposite outcome to be rather likely.
ISIS captured many weapons that had been left behind by US troops or supplied to the Iraqi army after the invasion of Iraq and recent reports of Amnesty International and America’s Accountability Office seem to show, that the US aministration has failed to track arms deliveries in the Middle East worth at least 1 billion USD. Even more infamous is the erroneous US airdrop of arms to ISIS forces.