US begins sending weapons to Kurdish YPG in Syria

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Hargeisapress- The United States has begun sending small arms to Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in northern Syria, despite concerns from NATO-ally Turkey.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday that the weapons shipments began ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIL in northern Syria.

“We have begun to transfer small arms and vehicles to the Kurdish elements” of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said.

The weapons sent to the SDF’s Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) include AK-47s and small-calibre machine guns, Rankine-Galloway added.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month approved arming the YPG fighters, angering Turkey.

The Pentagon said then that the YPG are “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future”.

There was no immediate reaction from Turkey regarding the start of the weapons transfer.

Turkish officials have previously warned the US that its decision to arm Kurdish forces fighting ISIL in Syria could end up hurting Washington.

Ankara says YPG fighters are linked to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey, who have waged an armed campaign since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Source AljazeeraEnglish

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