World, americas

How a democratic country backs a terror group

US military has routinely provided weapons assistance to PYD/YPG

  | 08.01.2019
How a democratic country backs a terror group

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON 

Former U.S. President Barack Obama's support for the PYD/YPG to cover up for America’s political and military failures in Syria has become an indispensable strategy that reveals the way a democratic country partners with a terror group.

Washington laid the groundwork for its relationship with the PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, at the end of 2014 in the town of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobani, through its air support against Daesh terrorists.

The U.S. military has routinely provided weapons assistance to the organization in Syria, but the Department of Defense (Pentagon) has long denied this.

In September 2015, the Obama administration scrapped a training program for opposition Syrian fighters and announced that it would work with a new local partner.

Under the leadership of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the support given to the PYD/YPG continued on behalf of a fictitious group called the "Syrian Arab Coalition", whose name was not known before and whose members were also unknown.

Although the Pentagon persistently claimed that trucks loaded with arms were not being sent to the PYD/YPG but to the Syrian Arab Coalition, neither Turkish nor American media was satisfied with this explanation.

However, The New York Times wrote that the Syrian Arab Coalition was merely a name and that there was no U.S.-led group other than the PYD/YPG.

While the terrorist group was expanding, with American support, its occupation of the regions where Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmens as well as Kurds lived, it formed a front group called the "Syrian Democratic Forces", or SDF.

 'Temporary relationship' 

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the Defense Department to arm the PYD/YPG in May 2017.

Washington has characterized its relationship with the terrorist organization as "conditional", "limited" and "temporary", claiming the weapons were not sent to the PKK's Syrian branch to be used against the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center designated the YPG and PYD as the Syrian branch of the PKK in its list of terrorist organizations. Later, it removed the part related to the PYD/YPG.

Also, in a 2018 country report by the Central Intelligence Agency, the YPG and PYD were defined as the branches of the PKK in Syria.

According to documents related to the Pentagon budget seen by Anadolu Agency, the PYD/YPG was allocated $500 million in aid for 2017 and $550 million for 2018.

The Pentagon also announced that after operations against Daesh were completed, arms support for the PYD/YPG terror group would be halted and their weapons would be recovered.

But after the PYD/YPG attacked rural areas of Deir ez-Zor where oil wells are located, the U.S. rejected taking back their weapons and said the military aid would proceed as long as fighting against Daesh continued.

Amid this move, the U.S.-led coalition announced the controversial decision to sponsor the creation of a 30,000-strong "border security” force in PYD/YPG controlled areas in northeastern Syria.

Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh, said last January that half of the force would be composed of militants in the ranks of the SDF, which was met with a harsh reaction from Turkey.

Separately, Anadolu Agency learned that in the 2018 budget, the Pentagon allocated $250 million in funds under the name of "border protection measures" in addition to $300 million in weapons aid.

Undelivered promises

Washington failed to deliver on its promises to Turkey that it would take the PYD/YPG out of the Syrian city of Manbij apart from the collection of the weapons given to the organization.

Despite unidentified amounts of weapons aid, the Pentagon is said to have delivered more than 4,000 trucks of weapons to the PYD/YPG organization.

Washington also promised that the terror group would withdraw from Manbij after it was cleared of Daesh terrorists.

However, the U.S.-led coalition and CENTCOM announced that the PYD/YPG withdrew from Manbij, which later proved to be false.

Turkey carried out two operations in northern Syria -- Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Ankara announced a plan to carry out a third operation in the northeast against PYD/YPG terrorists, which disturbed the U.S.

Last month, Trump made the unexpected decision to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, sparking criticism from many allies and security aides, including his own Cabinet.

In the original withdrawal announcement, Trump claimed American forces were leaving as they had defeated Daesh.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally but fierce critic of the announced withdrawal, said it would embolden the Syrian regime and its main allies -- Russia and Iran -- while undermining the fight against Daesh.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. will not withdraw troops from northeastern Syria unless the Turkish government guarantees it won’t attack “Kurdish fighters,” referring to the PYD/YPG terrorist group.

In its 30-year terrorist campaign, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives.

Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin slammed Bolton on Sunday and called claims that Turkey targets Kurds “irrational” as the country is fighting Daesh and PKK/PYD/YPG terrorists.

*Servet Gunerigok contributed to this story

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