US begins sending arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) stand near US military vehicles in the town of Darbasiya next to the Turkish border, Syria April 29, 2017.

:: The United States on Tuesday began providing small arms to Kurdish fighters battling ISIS in northern Syria, the Pentagon said, fulfilling a pledge that has infuriated Turkey.

The weapons transfers have begun ahead of an upcoming offensive to recapture Raqa, the last major bastion for ISIS in Syria.

“We have begun to transfer small arms and vehicles to the Kurdish elements” of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said, referring to a Kurdish-Syrian Arab alliance fighting ISIS.

The weapons include AK-47s and small-caliber machine guns, Rankine-Galloway added.

President Donald Trump this month approved arming the fighters from the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).

But Turkey says the YPG is linked to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey, who have waged an insurgency since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people.

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