U.S. leads training for Kurdish militants in Syria – report

The U.S.-led coalition in northeast Syria has provided military training to around 400 Kurdish militants, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu reported on Thursday.

The exercises, which lasted three months, were conducted on Mount Abdulaziz in Syria’s Ak-Hasakah province, Anadolu said, citing unidentified sources. It did not say when the training took place. 

Turkey and the United States have regularly clashed diplomatically over the latter’s support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has acted as a key ally in the battle against Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey says the SDF is dominated by Kurds allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for Kurdish autonomy from Turkey. The PKK is labelled as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

The fighters were taught how to use light, medium and heavy weapons and raid and infiltrate villages, according to Anadolu.  

U.S. commanders attended a graduation ceremony for the participants, along with Ferhat Abdi Sahin, code-named "Mazlum Abdi", who is one of the leaders of the SDF, Anadolu said.

The training was the latest conducted by the United States and France, with the latter frequently giving artillery training to the militants, Anadolu said.