Pentagon 2020 budget allocates $550 million for Kurdish forces in Syria
The Pentagon's budget proposal for 2020 includes $300 million for the train-and-equip program for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), predominantly led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), pro-government Hürriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The Pentagon is allocating the same amount of money as it did in 2019 to the YPG, which Ankara says is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey for over three decades, and has vowed to destroy, the newspaper said.
A total of $250 million has been requested by the Pentagon for building a "border security force" in Syria as part of a record-breaking $ 718,3 billion to cover its annual budget, Hürriyet said.
The SDF, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has led the U.S. battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region.
Washington announced in December of last year that it would be withdrawing its troops from Syria, however, later said that 400 troops tasked with helping to prevent an ISIS resurgence would remain.
Turkey has repeatedly voiced its concern regarding the partnership between the United States and the YPG.
Ankara in November of last year announced it would launch a large scale operation east of River Euphrates, a region controlled by U.S. backed YPG, however postponed the operation following Washington’s announcement of withdrawal from Syria.