The People Protection Units or "YPG" are the main armed service of the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava, and consist primarily of Syrian Kurds. The Turkish government consider the YPG to be part of the PKK, which they classify as a terrorist organization.

This 2015 Bloomberg article reports that US supplied weapons to YPG fighters, while claiming to have provided them to "Syrian Arabs fighting the Islamic State", instead.

Last weekend, the White House announced that the U.S. had dropped 50 tons of ammunition to Syrian Arabs fighting the Islamic State. Some officials now say that the new Arab coalition was a front and that Kurdish groups received most of the weapons -- as the U.S. intended.

American and Kurdish officials and Syrian Arab opposition leaders told us this week that ammunition said to have been for the Syrian Arab Coalition, a newly announced group of Sunni Arab brigades in northeastern Syria, had largely ended up arming the Kurdish Democratic Union Party and its associated military forces, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG. That will aid the Kurds in fighting the Islamic State and cementing their control of Kurdish territory.

In other words, US used the Arab fighters as a front to arm the YPG which is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey. Is this claim true?

  • 3
    This article is behind a paywall. Could you please quote a relevant section from it - especially where it references the PKK in particular.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 15, 2016 at 10:56
  • 1
    The Marketwatch version starts "The U.S. dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State extremists in the embattled city of Kobani, U.S. officials said Sunday" and ends "The fighters in Kobani are linked to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, which is considered the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The PKK has been fighting the Turkish state for decades and is classified as a terrorist organization by Washington and Ankara."
    – Henry
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 22:43
  • 1
    @DavePhD Link fixed. Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:08
  • 2
    @MohammadSakibArifin "front" can mean "external and often feigned appearance especially in the face of danger or adversity" merriam-webster.com/dictionary/front
    – DavePhD
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:20
  • 1
    @DavePhD: I changed it to front even before I saw your comment. Thinking alike.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


The Bloomberg article was 15 October 2015.

Yes, the US armed Kurds in the air drop mentioned in the article, but it was false that "the White House announced the U.S. had dropped 50 tons of ammunition to Syrian Arabs".

Instead, before the drop, as explained in the 9 October 2015 article Pentagon plans major shift in effort to counter the Islamic State in Syria:

U.S. officials hope the revised plan will help Arab forces, allied with Syrian Kurdish fighters, replicate the success that the Kurds have had

Then, as explained in the 12 October 2015 article Pentagon airdrops ammunition to groups fighting the Islamic State

according to a release by U.S. Central Command..."This successful airdrop provided ammunition to Syrian groups whose leaders were appropriately vetted by the United States and have been fighting to remove ISIL from northern Syria"

and the article reiterates:

A revised plan to help those fighting the Islamic State would empower Syrian Kurds and Sunni Arab groups that have already had success fighting the extremist group

So the Kurds were armed, but as an alliance with Arabs.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .