Turkey is not happy that the US has continued to support and arm Syrian Kurdish fighters, and their foreign ministry has summoned the top US diplomat in the country to voice its “discomfort” over the situation.
Turkey’s state-run media, the Anadolu news agency quoting government sources, said that US Embassy Charge d’Affaires Phillip Kosnett was summoned to the ministry. Kosnett is the most senior US Embassy official in Turkey since Ambassador John Bass departed in 2017. No replacement has been named yet.
The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, is seen by the US as the most effective ground partner for the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Syria.
The YPG has received arms shipments and training from the US, in a move that angered Turkey which considers the Kurdish forces to be a “terrorist group” that threatens its security.
Ankara says YPG fighters are linked to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey, who have waged an armed campaign since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people.
Wednesday’s move was not the first time Turkey has announced its displeasure with the US about the issue. In May 2017, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli called the supply of weapons to the Kurdish forces “unacceptable”.
Ankara’s ire isn’t just centered on the United States. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also called out Russia and Iran to stick to the joint accord they signed with Turkey last year agreeing on a “de-escalation zone” in Idlib which were set up to scale back the conflict.
However, Syrian regime forces, with Russian backing have stepped up attacks trying to regain control of the area controlled by the rebels. “Iran and Russia need to carry out their responsibilities. If you are guarantors, which you are, stop the regime,” Cavusoglu said.
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