US confirms providing armored vehicles to YPG-dominated SDF

Orient Net 2017-02-01 05:01:00

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The US Department of Defense confirmed on Tuesday that it has delivered "up-armored vehicles" to the ‘Syrian Arab Coalition’, a component of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed militia alliance, noting that the delivery had been planned prior to the election, during the Obama administration.

"Yes, this transfer has been in the works for months- prior to the election. These kinds of transfers sometimes take a while to arrange and complete. I wouldn’t try to read too much in to the timing," Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said.

Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said in an-email that the delivery was provided as part of already existing authorities to enable the ’coalition’. "Specifically, these vehicles will help them contend with ISIL’s IED threat as they move toward Raqqa", he said.

Earlier on Tuesday a Reuters report quoted a spokesman for the SDF, saying the militias have seen an increase in US support for their campaign against ISIS with US President Donald Trump in office.

SDF Spokesman Talal Silo said the ’coalition’ supplied the SDF with armored vehicles for the first time four or five days ago, despite the fact that the number was small.

SDF is led by Syrian Kurdish group YPG, a branch of terrorist group PKK, which has been waging a bitter war against Turkey since the 1980s. The US has previously supplied arms and ammunition to SDF components, and several YPG sources told local media that they were the ones who really received this military aid.

Most recently, then-US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a Senate panel in September that he provided ’Syrian Kurds,’ or YPG with some equipment and was also providing arms. "They are part of the Syrian Democratic Forces," he said.

Both Pentagon and the SDF have refused to provide the exact number of armored vehicles that have been delivered.

Coinciding with the Turkey-backed Operation Euphrates Shield, the SDF launched, on November 6, an operation called Wrath of Euphrates which it said aimed to force ISIS out of its de facto capital, Raqqa.