YPG receiving medical aid from Damascus, in touch with Moscow

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) are receiving medical and humanitarian aid from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime during their conflict with Turkey, and have maintained operational communications with Russia, a YPG commander revealed during an interview with the Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat’s Turkish-language page.

The commander, Sipan Hamo, told the newspaper that, besides the medical and humanitarian supplies, the majority-Kurdish YPG had been left alone by the regime to defend the northwest Syrian region of Afrin against the Turkish incursion, Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20.

Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian satellite of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group classified as a terrorist organisation by Turkey that has been in conflict with Turkish armed forces for decades. Before launching Olive Branch, Ankara cited fears that the YPG’s control of regions bordering Turkey constituted a threat to the country’s territorial integrity.

According to Hamo, the operation has achieved no noteworthy successes since it was launched. The commander also claims that the YPG has rendered 11 Turkish tanks inoperative.

These were destroyed with missiles developed by the Kurdish forces themselves, according to Hamo, and not with ammunition supplied by Russia, the United States or the Assad regime, as had been thought previously.

Hamo also revealed his fighter’s “fury” at Russia for allowing Turkey to conduct the operation. Russia agreed to pull its military observers from their stations in Afrin to allow Turkey to launch Olive Branch, and according to Hamo, no Turkish air strike could go ahead in the region without Russian assent.

However, the YPG has maintained an operational communications channel with the Russian forces stationed at Tal Rifat, north of Aleppo, said Hamo.