US to continue supporting PYD despite Turkey’s concerns

US top official says country will continue to support PYD despite Turkey’s concerns

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

US State Department Spokesman John Kirby

The US recognises Turkey’s concerns about Syrian armed groups linked to the terrorist organisation PKK but will continue to support them, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“Even though we understand they have concerns about support to Kurdish fighters in Syria … they have been nothing but open and honest about their concerns with that..We in turn have been open and forthright and honest about how we need to move forward as a coalition to go after this group [DAESH],” Kirby said.

"Kurdish fighters have been some of the most successful in going after DAESH inside Syria. We have provided a measure of support, mostly through the air and that support will continue," he added.

Kirby’s comments follow remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who voiced concerns about US support for YPG, the military wing of the PYD and the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group.

"The PYD, controlled by the Qandil Mountain [where the PKK has established its headquarters since it retreated from Turkey] is supported and defended [by western powers that] ignore the YPG's ethnic cleansing activities in the region, terrorist actions, [and] cooperation with the current [Bashar al Assad’s] regime," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul.

Criticising Washington’s characterisation of the PYD as a “reliable partner” in the fight against DAESH, Erdogan urged the US to show preference to its NATO ally in Turkey rather than the PYD as a partner.

Kirby said Turkey is a key ally in the fight against DAESH and, also a NATO ally, but noted that friends might not agree on everything.

"We've been managing this particular issue for quite some time. This is not a new concern," he added. "We don't, as you know, recognise the PYD as a terrorist organisation."

He also pointed out the partnership between the US and PYD is limited to the fight against DAESH.

Reports about US-provided arms found in Turkey with PKK terrorist killed by Turkish forces, suspected to have been transferred to the terrorist group by the PYD, were brushed aside by Kirby who denied the claims, saying the US provided only ammunition rather than weapons.

At the Pentagon, a spokesman said the Obama administration will support any moderate force fighting DAESH but added that the US has been talking to the Turkish government about “the best way to execute that fight” against DAESH.

"We're going to continue to coordinate, have our conversations with the Turkish government, and in the most appropriate fashion, and, again, focus the coalition's efforts on defeating ISIL, which is where we think Turkey and other members of the coalition want to achieve the exact same goal we do, so,” Peter Cook said, using an alternative acronym for DAESH.

TRTWorld, AA