Turkey reiterates demand to push PYD, YPG east of Euphrates

Ankara says US must fulfill its commitment to keep PYD and YPG away from the Turkish border instead of viewing Operation Euphrates Shield with skepticism.

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

US President Barack Obama will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday before G20 summit in China.

Updated Aug 31, 2016

Turkey has asked the United States to fulfill its part of the commitment to keep PYD and YPG terrorists east of the Euphrates river instead of doubting Ankara's determination to fight terrorism.

The US Department of Defense has issued a statement saying that clashes between Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and YPG militia in areas where Washington believes DAESH isn’t active were unacceptable.

"We want to make clear that we find these clashes – in areas where ISIL is not located – unacceptable and a source of deep concern," Brett McGurk, US envoy to anti-DAESH coalition, tweeted on Monday.

"The United States was not involved in these activities, they were not coordinated with US forces, and we do not support them."

In response, Turkey's foreign ministry criticised the comments coming from US officials and reminded Washington about the promise of keeping PYD and YPG east of Euphrates river. 

“We are waiting for the immediate realisation of the commitment the US forwarded to us that there will not be any PYD/YPG elements in the west of Euphrates after the Manbij operation," Tanju Bilgiç, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

Turkey launched the Operation Euphrates Shield last week with an aim to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border through FSA fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets.

Bilgiç said the operation would continue until the terrorism threat in the region reached a level that would “not disturb our citizens.”

Ankara views PYD as a terrorist organisation but on the other end the US uses it as an ally in the fight against DAESH. 

PYD's militant wing, YPG, is an affiliate of PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, US, EU and NATO.

The PKK has stepped up terrorist attacks against Turkey in recent months.

Just this week it claimed responsibility for assassination attempt on opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and a truck bomb attack near Syrian border that left 11 Turkish police officers dead.


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