In the crisis that is growing along the Turkish-Syrian border, the United States has said, the Syrian Kurdish fighters known as YPG, which were armed and supported by the US-led coalition are no longer part of the war on the Islamic State and receive no support.
These comments may calm some of the tensions between the U.S. and Turkey. The Turks, are threatening a cross-border military action to wipe out YPG, which it considers to be a terrorist organization. It would seem now that the United States would not intervene on behalf of the YPG in the Afrin region, along the southern border of Turkey.
The comments – reported by Turkey’s Anadolu news agency – came after senior Turkish officials threatened an imminent attack against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The US has viewed the YPG as the most effective fighting force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) – and has provided weapons, training, and air support.
An estimated 8,000-10,000 YPG soldiers are operating in the Afrin region in Syria’s Aleppo province, which borders Turkey’s Hatay and Kilis areas.
YPG is considered a “terrorist group” by Turkey because of its ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long armed conflict in Turkey, killing an estimated 40,000 people.
Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Anadolu the US-led coalition wasn’t involved with the YPG in the Afrin area.
“We don’t consider them as part of our ‘Defeat ISIS‘ operations, which is what we are doing there and we do not support them. We are not involved with them at all,” Rankine-Galloway told the news agency.
The U.S. is insisting that it is training and supporting SDF units and the fighters along Turkey’s border are internally oriented only. They are there to protect the flow of terrorists from crossing the border.
The Turks consider the Kurds terrorists themselves as Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Tuesday slammed the idea. “Is the duty of protecting NATO borders left to terror groups? We can protect our own borders,” calling the fighters marauders.
The Turks are insistent that they will not allow any NATO force to equip or train any of the YPG units operating in the area.
To read the entire article from Al Jazeera, click here:
Photo courtesy AP
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