As U.S. Airdrops Arms to Syrian Rebels, Kurds Accused of War Crimes

Posted October 15, 2015 at 8:01am

“US forces airdropped small arms ammunition and other supplies to Syrian Arab rebels following the start of Russia’s air campaign in the country,” Vice News reports, “as the release of an Amnesty International report documenting evidence of alleged war crimes by the YPG, a Kurdish militia which is an American ally.”  

“One military official said the American arms drop, by Air Force C-17 cargo planes in northern Syria on Sunday, was part of a revamped US strategy announced last week to help rebels in Syria battling Islamic State (IS) militants. A US source told CNN that 50 tons of ammunition on 112 pallets were dropped to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition. The group is fighting alongside the Kurdish YPG as part of a new rebel grouping around 3,200-strong known as the Democratic Forces of Syria.”  

“Turkey fears advances by Kurdish YPG militia, backed by its PYD political wing, on the Syrian side of its 900 km (560-mile) border will fuel separatist ambitions among Kurds in its own southeastern territories. But Washington has supported YPG fighters as an effective force in combating Islamic State (IS)… Amnesty International on Tuesday accused the YPG, which has seized swathes of northern Syria from IS this year, of committing war crimes by driving out thousands of non-Kurdish civilians and destroying their homes. Its report claims the forced displacement was often retribution for perceived sympathy with IS and other armed groups.”