Defense officials have told CNBC the Pentagon has boots on the ground in Syria assisting the Kurds. The nature of the special ops was not disclosed.
BREAKING: Defense officials tell NBC News that US special ops. forces are on ground in Syria assisting Kurdish forces in fight against ISIS
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) September 16, 2015
Earlier this week the Pentagon stated it has not included Syrian Kurds in its training of mercenary groups fighting to depose the government of Bashar al-Assad.
The program is confined to training “moderate Syrian opposition forces outside of Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Tuesday.
Asked about cooperating with the Kurds, Cook said the Pentagon will “work on range of groups on the ground and we will continue to do so going forward. We are looking for help and support from range of forces that are bringing the fight against ISIS.”
Last week Ciwan Ibrahim, head of the Kurdish security of the Peoples Protection Units, said a number of Western countries have trained Kurdish forces in counter terrorism techniques. He did not menton specific countries.
The Peoples Protection Units represent the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Turkey believes the organization is an extension of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, which is outlawed in Turkey.
Turkey disagrees with the United States on supporting the Kurds inside Syria. A recent deal struck between Turkey and the United States on the use of the Incirlik airbase does not cover support for the People’s Protection Units.
The announcement of boots on the ground in Syria assisting the Kurds appears to be a response to the increased Russian presence in the country.