Pentagon has announced that it will allocate $550 million of 2019 defense budget for the support of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main US ally on the ground in Northern Syria.
According to the US military, $300 million will be spent on training and equipping the SDF, while the remaining $250 million will be used to fund the creation of “border forces” to guard the areas controlled by the SDF units, including a large section of the Syrian-Turkish border.
The Pentagon has also confirmed that the border forces personnel have already begun their training, with the total number of SDF fighters trained by US military instructors as high as 11 thousand.
The statement added that the SDF training program is aimed at “restoring peace and stability” in the areas liberated from ISIS.
Previously, the US close co-operation with SDF has caused major tensions between Washington and Ankara. Turkey, a US NATO ally, considers SDF an affiliate of Kurdistan Workers’ Party and a terrorist organizaion. The creation of border forces under the US supervision has been met with a particularly harsh reaction, when Turkish President Rejep Erdogan accused Washington of creation “a terror army” along Turkey’s borders.