Three U.S. planes deliver military equipment to northern Syria

Three U.S. planes deliver military equipment to northern Syria
5 years ago

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SULAIMANI — The Hasakah Internal Coordination Committee announced on Thursday (Feb. 4) that three U.S. planes loaded with military equipment arrived in the Rmeilan airfield in Hasakah, Syria.

According to a report by Al Arabiya, three U.S. cargo planes carrying light arms and ammunition, traveled through the Kurdistan Region airspace landing Thursday (Feb. 4) morning in the Rmeilan airport in Hasakah.

According to the released Committee statement, the planes flew via the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s air space to transfer weapons and military equipment, as an offensive for control of the city of Manbij, in northern Aleppo countryside, intensifies.

A senior U.S. official recently visited the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Syria in what appeared to be the first official trip to Syrian territory for several years by an official from U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the Coalition against the Islamic State, said his weekend trip aimed to review the fight against Islamic State (IS) that controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.

The Syrian Kurds have established control over wide areas of northern Syria since the country erupted into civil war in 2011, and the “People Protection Units” (YPG), the Syrian Kurdish militia, has become a major partner in the U.S.-led coalition against IS.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said McGurk's visit was timed to coincide with the year anniversary of the battle with IS for the city of Kobani.

But the trip, the first of its kind to Kurdish-held Syria, may anger neighboring Turkey, which is alarmed by the growing sway of Syria's Kurds, fearing it could fuel separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish population.

It follows the exclusion of the main Syrian Kurdish party, the PYD, from Syria peace talks, in line with Turkish wishes.

The United States has supported the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, who it says has lost the legitimacy to rule, and has rejected cooperation with the Syrian government in the fight against IS.

U.S. ties with the Syrian Kurds have grown deeper despite the concerns of NATO ally Turkey, which views the Syrian Kurdish YPG as a terrorist group because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the armed Kurdish group in Turkey.

The YPG is a part of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance formed in October 2015, which has received U.S. military support to fight IS. The SDF is diverse and includes fighters from other ethnicities including Arabs and Turkmen.