United States sent $400 million in aid to Syrian Kurdish YPG - Anadolu

The United States has transferred $400 million worth of aid to Syria to be used by the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG), Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency reported on Saturday, citing unnamed local sources.

The aid package includes COVID-19 testing kits as well as military equipment in the form of bomb detectors, fingerprint scanners and tracking devices, and started to reach the YPG last month, Anadolu said.

Turkey considers YPG to be a terrorist organisation, due to alleged ties with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey since the 1980s. YPG, acting as the armed forces of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was a key element in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) under the U.S.-led international coalition.

Aid delivery will continue until year’s end, Anadolu said.

Anadolu cited a U.S. State Department statement that said none of the funding was addressed to security forces.

The aid consists of humanitarian assistance in its entirety, and will be distributed to Syrians by “trusted partners on the ground,” it cited the department as saying.

On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey was ready to launch another military operation against Syrian Kurdish groups in the country’s northeast, pointing to what he called terrorist zones. If launched, the operation will be Turkey’s fourth since 2016.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun recently announced that the United States would provide more than $720 million in humanitarian assistance for Syria, to be used for “both Syrians inside the country and for those in desperate need across the region.”

With the latest additions, the United States will have spent more than $12 billion to support Syria since the start of the crisis in 2011, according to Biegun.