US announces major funding for weapons to be sent to the PKK-affiliated PYD terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Trump administration allocated significant funds to be sent to the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Iraq and Syria.
The budget allocated funds to train and equip the PKK/PYD terrorist groups in Iraq, as well as arm the terrorist organization in Syria.
The shipment of weapons from the U.S. to the PKK/PYD terrorist organizations has already begun, and includes AK-47s and machine guns.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Of the allocated sum, USD 393 million will be spent on weapons and equipment that will be provided to the PKK/PYD. Heavy weaponry such as anti-tank guns and rocket launchers are among the weapons to be given to the U.S.-backed terrorist organizations in Syria.
"We are maintaining full accountability of the weapons that we are providing the SDF and we are being transparent with Turkey on the details of what we are providing," U.S. Colonel Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for the coalition in Baghdad, said.
"SDF forces are obliged to comply with the U.S. armed conflict laws. All the weapons given to the SDF have to be registered with the commanders' names as we will share all these details with our concerned ally in the north."
Dillon added that the U.S. will report to Turkey the types, numbers and serial numbers of the weapons, and said that they had not yet provided anti-armor vehicle weapons.
The PKK-affiliated YPG forms the backbone of the SDF, so the U.S. decision to arm them has caused tension between Ankara and Washington.
The PYD has attempted to alter the region's demographics by committing crimes against Arab and Turkmen locals in Syria's north.
Forced migration, arbitrary arrests of opposition and recruitment of child soldiers are among the crimes recorded by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).
"The Iraqi security forces continue to make steady progress as they close in on the remaining three Daesh-held neighborhoods of west Mosul," Dillon said.
The coalition supports Iraqi security force's advances on Mosul to recapture it from the Daesh terrorist organization.
"The remaining Daesh fighters hold less than 10 square kilometers of the city. Liberating these final neighborhoods will be among the most difficult fighting the ISF has faced in their campaign to defeat Daesh," Dillon said.