US provides arms and equipment to Kurdish special forces in Syria

People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters in northern Syria.

The People’s Protection Unit’s (YPG) Special Forces Units (YAT) are being armed and trained by the US, reports the Russian news agency Sputnik.

A YPG representative speaking to Sputnik stated that arms and equipment including combat helmets, body armours, laser guided weapons and communications equipment as well as night-vision binoculars were handed over to a YPG training center near Hasakah on Sunday.

“The US and members of the anti-ISIS coalition are training and providing equipment to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on a regular basis. The YPG is a component of the SDF. Arms and equipment including light assault rifles were handed over to the YPG’s special forces unit as part of the struggle against ISIS,” said the representative.

The representative added that US soldiers and YAT units conduct joint special operations against the Islamic State (IS) and that the weapons and equipment will be used in the upcoming operation to push IS out from Raqqa.

The Turkish President has called several times on Donald Trump to ditch support for the YPG that make up large parts of the SDF and has proved to be the most effective force fighting IS in Syria.

Despite Ankara’s efforts to persuade Washington to pursue a different plan together with Turkey, the US believes that their NATO ally does “not have that much to contribute militarily,” according to analyst Linda Robinson who spoke to Foreign Policy on Friday upon a recent return from a visit to Syria with US commanders.

Strained relations between Ankara and Washington recently took another dive following Ankara’s airstrikes on SDF positions in northern Syria.

Donald Trump will host Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 16-17 May at the White House, in the first meeting between the two leaders.