Turkey’s Defense Ministry is claiming that they have assurances from the United States that ongoing arms deliveries to the Kurdish YPG to fight against ISIS are only temporary, and that the US has promised they will take the weapons back from the Kurds as soon as the ISIS fight is over.
That guarantee appears more than a little far-fetched, as the US has long struggled to keep track of the arms they’ve provided to other factions in Iraq and Syria, often having no proper record-keeping and losing billions of dollars worth of arms in the process. Having a good enough inventory system to retake the arms after the war’s end would be a tall order, indeed.
Still, Turkish officials seem convinced, saying they’ve been promised that Defense Secretary James Mattis will give them a list every month of all weaponry given to the YPG, and that the first such list was already delivered to them.
Having a list of what was given to the YPG and knowing where those arms are now are two different things, of course, and the longer the fighting lasts, the less of that gear is likely to be accounted for and available to be reclaimed.
Turkey has envisioned a war against the YPG for some time now, and obviously worries that they’ll use all this new US weaponry against them. It is not common for the US to even consider reclaiming weapons they’ve distributed to other factions. The Kurds presumably aren’t going to be happy about the US disarming them immediately in advance of an offensive by Turkey when ISIS is defeated.
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