YPG Spox: US arms came ‘somewhat late but will bring fast, big results’

A Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) gestures at a convoy of U.S military vehicles driving in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rodi Said

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said on Wednesday that the US approval to arm its fighters against the Islamic State (IS) would bring and help it play a bigger role in the fight against terrorism.

“We believe that from now on and after this historic decision, (the YPG) will play a stronger, more influential and more decisive role in combating terrorism at a fast pace,” spokesman Redur Xelil said in a written statement to Reuters.

The US confirmed on Tuesday that it would provide the YPG with light and heavy arms and armoured vehicles as it prepares for the final assault on IS stronghold Raqqa, in northern Syria.

The YPG is the leading force in the US-backed multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), however Washington had refrained from directly arming the group due to Turkish concerns.

Xelil said the decision, which had come “somewhat late” would “give a strong push to all the democratic forces fighting terrorism and will bring positive, big, and fast results”.

NATO member Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting a three-decade insurgency against Ankara for autonomy for a 15 million-strong Kurdish population.