US denies plans to send crucial stinger missiles to PYD
Some 300 Turkish comandos have been sent to join the Euphrates Shield operation to clean the Turkish border of the PYD and ISIL- DHA photoA U.S. official has categorically denied recent media reports claiming that Washington was preparing to send Stinger missiles, an effective weapon in air defense, to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara considers a terrorist group.
“It’s not true,” a U.S. official told the Hürriyet Daily News while commenting on reports that appeared in the media on Dec. 9.
“They appear to be confused about how our congress works,” the official said on condition of anonymity, elaborating on the U.S. regulation to send arms to foreign groups.
“It is true the congress authorized the administration to provide Manpads to the Syrian opposition. This would allow the president to do so if he chooses to – but it does not require him to do so,” the official said.
Reports in the Turkish media said both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate had approved the sending of Stinger Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PYD.
“It will be the president’s decision whether he decides to do so. So far, he has not chosen to – in part because of concerns that they could end up with groups that would use them against civil aviation in Turkey, Europe or elsewhere,” the U.S. official said.
“Second, this is aimed at the groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army [FSA] to address the problem they face from regime air strikes. We don’t provide equipment to groups if there is not a need for it. And we have been very careful not to provide anything in Syria that would end up improving the PKK’s [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] capabilities,” the official said.
Turkey and U.S. have been engaged in a split since Washington backs the PYD in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey, on the other hand, supports Syrian rebels as part of its ongoing Euphrates Shield operation to clear its borders of both the PYD and ISIL.