Russia’s government-funded RT television said, “If the Kurdish YPG fighters have been armed with Javelin anti-tank missiles by Washington, it is a move that will not go down well with Turkey. Ankara has been shelling YPG forces, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization, as well as government troops on Syrian territory since mid-February.”
The Washington Post, which first reported on the video and the possible use of a Javelin, cited State Department spokesman John Kirby as saying that “nothing has changed about our policy of not providing the YPG with weapons.” However, the U.S. has coordinated frequent airstrikes in support of the YPG and airdropped ammunition to the group last year in defense of the besieged town of Kobane.
It appears that RT is attempting an age old tactic- seeking to create a rift between allies before a large frontal attack. Long story short, the YPG is one of the two major armed factions of the Kurds of northern Iraq, far northeast Syria, extreme southern Turkey, and far west Iran.
Turkey considers them terrorists, especially the other Kurdish group, the marxist Kurdish Worker’s Party, or PKK, pictured at the right.
The two have a very long history together, going back to before Sykes-Picot. Turkey sees both factions of the Kurds as enemies, and has been ramping up the attacks on them over the past year.
To infer that DC armed the YPG with Javelins is silly- it’s simply not happening. The YPG is indeed struggling for arms and equipment, but they have little need for anti-armor role, one time use rockets. The US has indeed coordinated airstrikes with the YPG however…the ill-fated oil tanker bombings which were transporting oil from Baiji to Turkey to backdoor funds to ISIS, and the raid to free a large number of hostages being held in Northern Iraq. Both of which appeared to be token efforts at best.
Turkey is mostly concerned with the control of Kobane, a critical pass of terrain which ISIS needs to solidify it’s supply line from Turkey. The YPG has been able thus far to control it, despite being outnumbered and ill-equipped. It would be a tactical disaster for them to lose control. That being said, a Javelin won’t do them much good in this type of fight; these are anti-armor weapons, needing a fair amount of technology to support it. Something light, reusable, and multi-purpose is a much better fit, such as a Mukha(RPG-18) or M-72 LAW would fit their purposes much, much better than the cumbersome Javelin.
I predict the attacks on the YPG to pick up; and attacks within Turkey will happen as well. There are no doubt US missle-type weapons in theater- not in the hands of the Kurds but more likely in the hands of ISIS, by way of Libya. They will make themselves known(if they haven’t already) but it’ll get swept under the rug “for the common interest of our allies.”
The YPG loses Kobane- and with it ISIS solidifies control of northern Syria, causing the Kurds to further be reduced in their areas of influence. The loss of this area would be a major blow to the Kurds and would see them butcher at the hands of the Islamic State and their indirect allies in the region- inching closer to the Caliphate they wish to re-establish.
Lessons in Real Time
This situation is quite the teacher- for those paying attention. As with Ukraine, this is a real time fight, where the consequences are very real for those fighting. Keep a close eye on it and take notes. Reality is very different from the fantasy land some pundits like to live in.
On another note, everyone remembers the Nazis. What most don’t remember is the Ottoman Turks doing the same thing, but even worse; as a matter of fact, Hitler cited the Ottomans as a model. Their atrocities in Armenia are still to this day refused to be acknowledged, even by our own President. The Islamic Government in Ankara seeks to once again purify the mideast, starting with the Kurds.