There are many reasons why US interventions abroad tend to backfire spectacularly and usually without fail, but the most embarrassing of all is when US weapons meant for one side end up in the hands of their enemies, and eventually used against the US itself. Most recently, this happened in the 2014-2016 period when ISIS steamrolled countless Iraqi towns, collecting Humvees, SAM missiles, guns and ammo in the process.
Today, it happened again in the Syrian-Kurdish town of Afrin, where the “victorious” Turkish army seized an unknown number of weapons provided by the Pentagon to the (formerly) US-allied Kurdish YPG “terrorists” as they are called by Turkey.
One day after the Turkish president declared victory in the Turkish campaign against the Kurdish outpost, on Monday Erdogan said that the Turkish army and FSA units entered Afrin and established full control over the settlement.
And while he failed to thank the US taxpayers for providing him with brand new, barely used, ultramodern weapons, initially meant for the YPG which less than bravely scattered as soon as the Turkish army approached, the delighted Turkish Deputy PM revealed Turkey’s plans concerning the ongoing Syria offensive, saying that the country’s forces would not remain in Afrin, instead leaving the city to its “real owners.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency news agency reported that a bomb had been planted by Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that killed at least 7 civilians and 4 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in part of central Afrin which had earlier been cleared by Turkish military and FSA, citing a security source.
The bomb went off late Sunday in a four-story building in Afrin, killing at least 7 civilians and 4 FSA fighters, the agency specified. The explosion took place amid Ankara’s recent advance in the area: Turkish-backed forces managed to take over the town center on Sunday.
Ankara launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to neutralize YPG groups in Afrin. Turkey maintains that YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey. The Syrian government has condemned the operation as a breach of the country’s sovereignty.
While the offensive has been strongly condemned by Damascus, which decried Turkey’s move as “a violation of the country’s sovereignty”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria is the common goal of Ankara and Damascus and that Turkish troops are not going to attack government forces in Syria.
So far Russia has supported the Turkish military campaign as it continues to clear the northern part of Syria of its US allied Kurdish presence.