ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT
By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Pentagon on Monday requested $300 million to train and equip the PYD/PKK terror group that goes by the name of the SDF, and wants nearly as much to build the terror group-led “border security force” in Syria.
The military’s budget proposal for 2019 also contains $850 million for train-and-equip activities in Iraq to counter-Daesh.
"The training, equipment, and operations support in this request will consolidate the gains achieved against [Daesh] and prevent its reemergence," according to the proposal submitted to Congress.
The Pentagon wants $1.4 billion for fiscal year 2019, an amount that is slightly less than its 2018 budget at $1.8 billion.
The U.S.-led coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), last month said it was creating a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria along Turkey's border.
After strong objection by Turkey, the Pentagon appeared to back off somewhat of the plans for the Border Security Force, comprised of local security forces trained in Syria, saying the U.S.-led coalition is training the PKK/PYD-led SDF as a "stabilization” and “hold force".
But to the contrary, the Pentagon still plans to establish and fund the group, according to the budget proposal that asks for “$250 million for border security requirements related to the counter-[Daesh] mission" in Syria.
The U.S. has supported the PKK/PYD under the name of the SDF that is considered by Ankara to be the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group that has waged a more than 30-year brutal war against the Turkish state.
American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.
The first budget proposal prepared by the Pentagon for fiscal year 2018 required $606 billion, the budget for fiscal year 2019 increased $80 billion to $686 billion.
Following appropriations, Congress increased the FY2018 budget from $606 billion to $692 billion. Considering the rise in this year's budget the FY2019 defense budget is expected to hit $800 billion.
In addition, the Pentagon's overseas contingency operations budget, also known as the war fund, has been increased from $65.8 billion to $89 billion in the 2019 budget proposal.