The U.S. administration continues to arm and equip the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian offshoot, as its militants were seen using FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles.
In recent footage from the YPG-led operation in Syria to retake Raqqa from Daesh terrorists, YPG militants were seen using U.S. anti-tank missiles. As FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles are difficult to manage, it has been contended that U.S. military officers have been training YPG militants on the ground.
On Feb. 24, 2016, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis rejected claims that the U.S. provided any FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles to the YPG. However, Turkish media outlets assert that sources in the region claim the YPG has been using the anti-tank missiles for over a year.
Ankara has long criticized the U.S. for providing arms to the PYD, which it sees as a terrorist group. Turkish authorities also called on Washington to stop supporting terrorism as it joins forces with "terrorists."
Turkish-U.S. relations soured last year following a statement from U.S. State Department Spokesman John Kirby that the U.S. did not consider the PYD or its armed wing, the YPG, to be terrorist groups. Kirby's statement was in response to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ultimatum to Washington to choose between Turkey or the PYD as its ally.
The Obama administration's continuous support for the PYD and YPG seriously strained Turkish-U.S. relations. Ankara now expects the new Trump administration to change its course and cease its support of the terrorist group.