The United States officially announced providing the Arab component of a coalition fighting terror group ISIS in Syria with armored vehicles, a U.S. defense official confirmed Tuesday.
Rules enacted by former president Barack Obama allowed for realizing the delivery, although the decision was made by the administration of President Donald Trump.
A U.S. official said the decision to supply the vehicles pre-dated the Trump administration, but on the ground it was being interpreted as a sign of new support.
“It was a ground-level tactical decision, it’s not a policy-type decision, it’s a tactical decision based on the threats the SDF might be facing,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said.
“We are providing them with the tools to face whatever the current threat is.”
The Syrian Arab Coalition is a component of the broader Syrian Democratic Forces, the bulk of whose fighters are Kurdish.
The Pentagon has previously supplied the Arab component with light weaponry and ammunition, and has sent U.S. and other Western special forces as “advisers” to help the SDF as a whole.
“We have provided (the Arab component with) equipment for some time, but this is the first delivery of up-armored SUVs,” Dorrian said.
Earlier Tuesday, SDF spokesman Talal Sello told AFP that “American armored vehicles” had arrived for the SDF for the first time.
“This happened after the new U.S. administration came to power,” Sello said.