Assad admits sending weapons to Kurdish forces

Assad admits sending weapons to Kurdish forces
5 years ago

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ISTANBUL – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that the Syrian government supplies arms to groups fighting against the Islamic State (IS), including Kurdish forces in Syria.

“We sent them armaments because they are Syrian citizens, and they want to fight terrorism. We do the same with many other groups in Syria, because you cannot send the army to every part of Syria,” Assad told the Sunday Times in an interview published last weekend.

The Syrian pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are considered by the US-led coalition to be leading ground forces in the fight against IS.

Turkey has been critical of the U.S. for supplying weapons and munitions to PYD forces in their fight against IS.

In October, PYD leader Salih Muslim said the U.S. had supplied 50 tons of military aid to the PYD. While Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist organization, the U.S. does not list the group as such.

Assad also said IS cannot be defeated by the U.S.-led coalition's airstrikes and suggested that the coalition members cooperate with the Syrian government.

“You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone, without cooperation with forces on the ground. You cannot defeat them if you do not have buy-in from the general public and the government. They cannot defeat ISIS with [only] airstrikes; they are going to fail again,” said Assad.