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    A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters, raises a flag of the SDF near the village of Bir Fawaz, 20 km north of Raqqa, during their offensive towards the Islamic State (IS) group's Syrian stronghold as part of the third phase retake the city and its surroundings, on February 8, 2017

    Reinforcement: SDF Receives '190 Trucks' With US Weapons for Raqqa Operation

    © AFP 2019 / DELIL SOULEIMAN
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    Last week, photos and video footage surfaced on social media, showing a convoy of flatbed trucks loaded with American-made armored military vehicles passing through Syria.

    The video was posted on July 18 by Syrian Kurdish activists who are affiliated with the United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The activists claimed that the vehicles would be used by the SDF in the fight against Daesh in Raqqa.

    ​The vehicles included Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, Mine-Resistant All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) and armored bulldozers. They were filmed passing through Qamishli, 270 kilometers northeast of Raqqa.

    All three vehicle types were previously mentioned in Pentagon reports as assets being supplied to SDF fighters.

    "Up-armored vehicles have been delivered to the SDF and [Syrian Arab Coalition] as part of our existing authorities to enable them," a spokesperson for US military operations in Syria told the media outlet Task & Purpose.

    In recent months, under President Donald Trump the US has increased military assistance for the SDF, which continues to play a key role in the US-led coalition’s campaign to liberate Raqqa, Daesh’s final major stronghold in Syria. Since June, the SDF has encircled the city and is slowly gaining ground against the terrorists.

    Earlier, the Pentagon confirmed that US troops entered Raqqa. They are not engaged in direct combat and acting in an "advise and assist role" for the SDF.

    In an interview with Sputnik Turkey, a source in the SDF said on condition of anonymity that the US has supplied the group with armored vehicles and heavy weapons in relation to the Raqqa operation.

    "They were supplied from the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan along the highway via a border crossing point to Rojava. Then, they were moved to the Raqqa neighborhoods. A total of 190 trucks were used. Over the last 10 days, we’ve been receiving heavy weapons and armored vehicle from the US almost every day," the source said.

    Moreover, according to the source, the Pentagon also delivers weapons and equipment supplies to US facilities in the area.

    "There are a total of eight American military bases in Rojava. In addition, there are two air bases. The US provides them with military supplies to maintain security of these facilities," the source said.

    The source underscored that the SDF needs US military support since the group is fighting Daesh, the "most dangerous terrorist organization in the world."

    "They [Daesh] have a large arsenal of heavy weapons and armored vehicles. It is necessary that we have such weapons too," the SDF representative concluded.

    The SDF was formed in 2015 as the defense force of the de facto autonomous Rojava federation in northern Syria and is supported by the US-led international coalition. The group is among the forces fighting Daesh in Syria and brings together Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters, among others, with Kurds being the backbone of its combat force.

    Washington’s military assistance for the SDF is a problematic point between the US and Turkey. The SDF includes members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization.

    In turn, the US said it notified Turkey of its military support of the YPG. Washington also said that as soon as the Raqqa operation is completed the weapons and equipment supplied by the US would be returned.

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    Tags:
    Kurds, terrorism, military conflict, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Daesh, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Raqqa, Syria, United States
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