by Adel Karim
According to Al-Masdar, as part of a bargain struck on 15 January 2018, Kurdish YPG have received a shipment of MANPADS and TOWs from the United States to counter Turkish aircraft and armored vehicles to use if the situation deteriorates.
Obtaining intelligence data on the forthcoming Turkish offensive, the U.S. Special Operation Forces (USSOF) delivered these weapons well in advance in Afrin and handed them over to the Syrian Kurds.
This has been reported by Turkish president Erdogan. While addressing the audience in Elâzığ Province, he stressed that the Pentagon had sent weapons, including MANPADS, for further use against the Turkish AF and military hardware.
A number of independent Twitter activists have already confirmed the information. İbrahim Haskoloğlu has published information on weapons captured from Kurds in the cantonment of Afrin.
Another Kurdish Internet activist and witness, Ahmad Masih, twitted that Kurds are already equipped with about 100 MANPADS and TOWs and are ready to use them against Turkish armed forces at any moment.
Besides, a geopolitical and security analyst on MENA, Michael A. Horowitz, has published footage of YPG’s attack showing perfect use of a guided missile to target a Turkish tank. As a result, the vehicle was destroyed.
The news about Kurds supplied with MANPADS and TOWs regularly appeared before. For instance, some field units closely linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK, so hated by Erdogan) published video footage in May 2016 showing a downed Turkish helicopter.
Massive use of MANPADS and TOWs by Kurds hasn’t been recorded to date. Possibly it is because USSOF hasn’t trained enough Kurdish specialists yet. Instead, initiating the Operation Olive Branch and invading Syrian Kurdish-controlled territory, Ankara just pre-empted the US.