Syria Daily: US Confirms Arming of Kurdish Militia YPG

US commander with colleagues of the Kurdish militia YPG in northeast Syria, April 2017

Trump signature confirms US support of Kurdish militia YPG since late 2015


UPDATE 1745 GMT: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the confirmation of the US support to the Kurdish militia YPG.

Erdoğan said the fight against the Islamic State “should not be carried out using other terrorist groups”.

He said he hoped that the decision would be revised during his visit to Washington and meeting with Donald Trump next week.

“I want to believe that Turkey’s allies will side with us, not with terrorist organizations,” Erdoğan asserted.

UPDATE 1725 GMT: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has met Donald Trump and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington.

A brief State Department readout of the Lavrov-Tillerson meeting said:

The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed the importance of defeating ISIS, de-escalating the violence in Syria, and ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches hundreds of thousands of civilians throughout the country. Additionally, the Secretary and Foreign Minister restated support for the UN-led political process in Geneva, which is central to international efforts to bring about an enduring resolution to the conflict.

Significantly, there is no reference to Russia’s proposed “de-escalation zones”, about which the US has expressed concern because of Iranian involvement on the ground.

The White House readout of the Trump-Lavrov meeting says only, “President Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The US has confirmed it is providing arms to the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria, despite Turkish objections.

American officials said Donald Trump, after months of debate, approved the deliveries for an offensive against the Islamic State in the city of Raqqa, ISIS’s center in northern Syria. The Pentagon said the weapons would be provided
“as necessary to ensure a clear victory”.

One U.S. official said the equipment for the YPG could include small arms, ammunition, machine guns, armored vehicles, and engineering equipment.

The Military Times reported on Sunday that the US is providing the YPG with sophisticated American combat equipment,
night-vision goggles, rifles, and advanced optics used by American special operations forces and the foreign commando units they train.

The US has backed the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the YPG, since the SDF was formed in autumn 2015 to fight ISIS. Washington has provided arms and supplies, and US special forces have been photographed with the force. However, Tuesday’s announcement is the first confirmation by Trump officials of the arrangements.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group linked to the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has battled Turkish security forces for more than 30 years. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he considers the YPG and PKK “terrorist hubs” which must be eliminated.

Ankara launched airstrikes on both groups in late April, killing up to 30 YPG fighters in northeastern Syria. The US responded with a high-profile movement of armored vehicles and personnel along the Turkish-Syrian border, in a show of support for the YPG.

US Tries to Balance YPG Support With Assurances to Turkey

Top Turkish officials, including head of armed forces General Hulusi Akar, met American counterparts on Monday in the White House. Akar briefly saw Trump.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis called Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik. There was no indication of Isik’s response, but the Pentagon said that both “affirmed their support for peace and stability in both Iraq and Syria.”

“We are keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey,” said Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokeswoman. “We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the US is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally.”

White said the US would still give priority to arming Arab fighters within the Syrian Democratic Forces, with equipment
provided “incrementally as objectives are reached”.

Mattis told reporters before the announcement, after a meeting in Denmark with members of the anti-Islamic State coalition, “Our intent is to work with the Turks, alongside one another, to take Raqqa down, and we’re going to sort it out and we’ll figure out how we’re going to do it.”

TOP PHOTO: A US commander with Kurdish militia YPG colleagues after Turkish bombing of a YPG site in northeast Syria, April 25, 2017

Video: Another 2,000 Removed from al-Wa’er in Homs

Another group of residents has been removed from al-Waer in Homs city, the latest stage of displacement under a March capitulation agreement:

A report from pro-opposition Orient News:

Up to 20,000 of the 50,000 people in al-Wa’er, which was the last opposition district in Homs, are being transferred to Jarablus on the Turkish-Syrian border or Idlib Province in the northwest of the country.

See also Why Opposition al-Wa’er Finally Capitulated to Assad Regime


Regime Bombs Rebels Near Jordan Border After Warning to Amman

Assad regime warplanes bombed rebel positions early Tuesday, hours after a warning by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to Amman not to send troops into Syria.

The airstrikes, at around 3 a.m. were the first in the area.

“The Syrian regime’s jets conducted four strikes against us,” said Tlas al-Salameh, the commander of Osoud al-Sharqiya, a Free Syrian Army faction.

Salameh said one strike hit a border area where rebels’ families are shelters, and others hit a rebel outpost 8 km (5 miles) from the Rukban camp with more than 75,000 displaced people. there were no casualties.

In recent weeks, the Free Syrian Army has cleared the Islamic State from more than 2,200 square km (850 square miles) in east and southeast Syria.

Foreign Minister al-Moallem said on Monday, “If the Jordanian forces entered [Syria] without coordination with the Syrian government they will be considered as hostile forces.”

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    • Awesome. Just compare ISIS resistance with the pathetic collapse of Gaddafi´s regime (or Saddam´s one). ISIS must have considerable popular support in their territories plus a will of iron.

        • Magpie, please use your critical thinking:

          There were between 2k and 4k ISIS militants inside Mosul at the start of the siege. How many of them are still alive, 1k?, how many of those are engaded in the battle front, 500?. So we must believe that 500 ISIS militants are holding hostage a couple hundred thousand civilians wich don´t rebel against them??.

          That they have popular support is a much more plausible explanation, no one can stand that long without popular support. I know it´s hard to accept that as a fact, but every evidence point in that direction.

        • “This condensed video shows, in chronological order, footage from almost two hours worth of surveillance from a March 29th event. What can be seen are ISIS fighters establishing a fighting position even as civilians are present in the compound”

          So??, nothing new under the sun: SAA barrell bombs civilians, US coalitions strikes civilians, russian strikes civilians, israel strike civilians, etc.

          • You conveniently stop at the part where it says no air strike was performed on the ISIS position due to the civilians being used as human shields.Slows down advance.Many dead ISIS are killed in Mosul,then claimed to be dead civis for propaganda reasons.ISIS fighter numbers in Mosul have been underestimated from beginning of battle.

            • “You conveniently stop at the part where it says no air strike was performed on the ISIS position due to the civilians being used as human shields”

              It was not relevant for my point.

              “ISIS fighter numbers in Mosul have been underestimated from beginning of battle.”

              In fact it is exactly the other way around. Another fact is that ISIS´s media is way more trustworthy than the iraqi one (wich is pure garbage). Iraqi forces have been humiliated over and over gain by ISIS´s small contingents of men, and that is another fact…

  1. Indications that Tabqa and Dam has been taken. Mopping up operations in effect for diehards.
    I’ve seen reports of SDF are already receiving additional Cougar MRAP’s. Regardless, they will get plenty of ammo. Let’s see what Erdogan does. I’d expect a pincer movement on Raqqa, one from Tabqa the other from the Maadan sector. That will put extreme pressure on ISIS units and leadership. Once they squirt into the open desert, the helo’s will have a field day.

  2. #National: “Developing story- allegedly several #Syria|n army officers busted in a large fraud/smuggling operation stealing supplies meant for the army and reselling them on the black market ” – Jacm212
    If Assadists have no problems stealing other people’s fridges/ovens and anything else that can’t be nailed to the floor then do you think they’ll have any problem stealing from their own military?

  3. No reference because we all know deescalation zones are a bunch of nonsense. Simply allowing assad to concentrate forces in pursuit of attempting to keep the fsa and sdf away from Iraq border

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