While US “relief funds” are frozen in Syria, the Pentagon continues to seek massive amounts of funding for its military operations in the country. This includes a request for $300 million in weapons to give to “partner forces” in Syria.
This amounts to enough arms for 65,000 fighters. This is expected to center on the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is to say, almost entirely the Kurdish YPG. The US has been arming the YPG for years now as part of its Syria operations.
This is being sought in spite of repeated US assurances to Turkey that their arming of the YPG was temporary. With ISIS virtually wiped out in Syria, the YPG no longer has offensive goals fitting into US plans for Syria, and rather is focused chiefly on fighting a Turkish invasion of northern Syria.
The $300 million in arms also comes with $250 million in “border security” funding for Syria. Both are going into the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which Pentagon officials can easily shuffle around to spend on virtually anything.
While couched as “Counter-ISIS” funding, the funding looks more likely to be backing the YPG in fighting Turkey. While the US is unlikely to fund fighting against another NATO ally, it may also be this is just another excuse to grow the OCO.
By Jason Ditz