Middle East Photo suggests advanced US weaponry in hands of Syrian Kurdish Forces

Photo suggests advanced US weaponry in hands of Syrian Kurdish Forces
US forces at the People's Protection Units (YPG) headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes, Syria, April 25, 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – According to Military Times, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in Syria might possess sophisticated American combat equipment, weaponry the Pentagon says it does not provide to the Syrian Kurdish fighters.

A photo of a YPG commando suggests the Syrian forces’ gear now includes clothing, weapons, and enhancements once issued to US Marine Corps special operations personnel and used by the foreign commando units they train.

The gear includes US-manufactured night-vision goggles, rifles, and advanced optics among other items. (Photo: Defense Department)

The US currently has 900 American advisers supporting different factions of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprised of Kurdish and Arab troops in northern Syria.

The YPG has proven to be the US military’s most reliable ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) as they push toward the group’s stronghold in Raqqa.

The development is likely to infuriate Turkey, which considers the YPG a “terrorist” group

The photo first appeared on social media in late March, during a US-backed mission to liberate Tabqa, a town west of Raqqa.

Defense officials who spoke to Military Times suggested the YPG could have acquired the equipment through the black market.

It’s also possible, officials said, the gear was stolen when Iraqi military facilities fell to IS beginning in 2014.

While the Pentagon acknowledges arming some allies inside Syria, typically with AK-47 assault rifles and other Russian-made weapons, US military officials denied providing anything to the YPG.

“The Department of Defense does not provide arms to the YPG, directly or via intermediaries,” said Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman.

He also dispelled claims the weapons could have come from Kurdish forces in Iraq.

“We have no indications that Iraqi Peshmerga forces have transferred US equipment to the YPG,” he said.

 

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany