Syria’s Assad admits sending weapons to Kurdish militia

“We sent them armaments because they are Syrian citizens, and they want to fight terrorism. We do the same with many other groups in Syria, because you cannot send the army to every part of Syria,” Assad told the Sunday Times in an interview published last weekend.

The Syrian pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are considered by the US-led coalition as leading the ground forces in the fight against ISIL. Turkey has been critical of the US for supplying weapons and munitions to PYD forces in their fight against ISIL. In October, PYD leader Salih Muslim said the US had supplied 50 tons of military aid to the PYD. While Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist organization, the US does not list the group as such.

Assad also said ISIL cannot be defeated by the US-led coalition’s airstrikes and suggested that the coalition members cooperate with the Syrian government.

“You cannot defeat ISIS through airstrikes alone, without cooperation with forces on the ground. You cannot defeat them if you do not have buy-in from the general public and the government. They cannot defeat ISIS with [only] airstrikes; they are going to fail again,” said Assad.