Karwan Faidhi Dri
23rd Nov 2019
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Friday evening that Turkish troops have found thousands of weapons given to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria and are seizing them.
“They [YPG] run and we chase them. We have entered all of their hideouts. They wanted to establish a terror state in northern Syria. Did they make it? Between 32 and 33 thousand truckloads of weapons were given to them from somewhere. We have found the whereabouts of their depots and we are now collecting them,” Erdogan said at an event in Izmir province, reported state-owned Anadolu Agency.
The United States supplied the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with light arms, combat training, and air support during the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, beginning in 2014. The SDF declared the terror group territorially defeated in Syria in March this year.
Washington’s alliance with the YPG angered Turkey, which considers the Kurdish forces a terror organization with ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Erdogan repeatedly demanded the US stop arming the Kurds, expressing concern that after ISIS was defeated, the guns would be turned on Turkey.
The US tried to placate Turkey by promising to collect the weapons after the jihadists were ousted from northern Syria and sharing information on the weapons with Ankara.
On October 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring against the YPG, vowing to push the Kurdish forces away from the border and establish a 32-kilometre deep “safe zone.” A day later, a YPG source told Reuters that they do not have American weapons to match Turkey’s air force or tanks.
“The heaviest weapons we got from the U.S. are some mortar shells, nothing heavier. No missiles, no anti-aircraft weapons, no anti-tank,” said the anonymous source.
Washington and Moscow separately brokered deals with Turkey to end the northern Syrian incursion, though clashes have continued.