US armored vehicles lead a convoy of vehicles with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in early May. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— A new batch of US arms and ammunition has arrived in the Kurdish controlled city of Hasaka, second such shipment in two months, Turkish media reported Tuesday.
The shipment, loaded on trucks and military vehicles, consisted of anti tank weapons, MK19, M4 Cabrine, M16 and Humwees and crossed the Semelka border into Syria from the Kurdistan Region on two separate occasions, May 15 and May 20, the media reports said. The US-led coaltion and the SDF haven't yet announced the delivery.
According to multiple Turkish media outlets, the shipments were delivered to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group which also includes the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
US President Donald Trump has approved a plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish fighters — an important U.S. ally in Syria in the fight against ISIS.
The Pentagon has said the move is significant because it supports the notion that the SDF is the fighting force that will eventually go in to Raqqa city in Syria's center which has been under ISIS control since 2014.
The move reinforces the idea that the entire Syrian Democratic Force, Syrian Kurds (YPG) and the Syrian Arab Coalition, has the backing of the U.S.
"The (Syrian Democratic Force), partnered with enabling support from U.S. and coalition forces, are the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future," chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said in a statement on May 8 after signing the deal to arm the SDF.
No final dates have been set for the Raqqa offensive yet.
Turkey, a key US ally, sees YPG as a “terrorist” organisation and has vehemently opposed Washington's intentions to include the Kurdish group in the operation. Ankara has instead proposed using the formation of Syrian rebel factions under the umbrella of its Euphrates Shield operation to launch the offensive.