WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The United States supported and funded most of the militant factions in the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is now aiding Turkey in an offensive against U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria, a new document reveals.
The White House not only gave the green light to Ankara to launch its so-called Operation Peace Spring against the Arab country, but also placed its "mercenaries and terrorist… at the disposal of Turkey”, Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing a newly-released document by the pro-government Turkish think tank SETA, said in a report.
According to the SETA document, which is a research paper, 21 militant factions of the Ankara-backed FSA had been supported by Washington either directly through the Pentagon or through the CIA and the operating room affiliated to it in Turkey.
"Out of the 28 factions [in the FSA], 21 were previously supported by the United States, three of them via the Pentagon’s [so-called] program to combat Daesh. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA via the MOM Operations Room in Turkey, a joint intelligence operation room of the ‘Friends of Syria’ to support the armed opposition. Fourteen factions of the 28 were also recipients of the U.S.-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles,” said the SETA document.
Turkish military forces and the FSA militants on October 9 launched a cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to eliminate Kurdish militants from the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG) from border areas.
Ankara views the U.S.-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
The YPG, which itself is the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), constitutes the backbone of the SDF.
The Syrian government has condemned the offensive as an act of aggression.
The SETA document further said what the U.S. called the so-called "moderate opposition” was in fact militant factions armed and trained under the administration of former U.S. president, Barack Obama, and then moved under the umbrella of the current Turkish offensive against Syria.
It said that although Washington later began supporting the YPG militants, it still had links with the so-called "moderate opposition” now fighting the YPG.
"Over the course of time, the United States has changed horses in midstream by supporting the YPG. However, it still has not completely cut its ties to the Syrian opposition,” said the document.
A Turkey-backed militant stands in the back of a truck in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria, October 18, 2019.