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US dodges question on banner of PKK leader in Raqqah

Pentagon ignores PKK/PYD's dedication of victory against Daesh to Abdullah Ocalan

20.10.2017
US dodges question on banner of PKK leader in Raqqah

WASHINGTON

The U.S. declined to directly comment Friday on the unveiling of a huge banner of jailed terror leader Abdullah Ocalan by the PKK/PYD in the Syrian city of Raqqah.

The PKK/PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years, was among the U.S.-backed SDF to take Raqqah from Daesh earlier this week.

The taking of the eastern city -- considered Daesh’s de facto capital -- was marked by the unfurling of a huge banner bearing Ocalan’s image in the main square.

Questioned about “a victory enabled by the U.S. that is dedicated to a terrorist group”, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White declined to comment directly.

“We work with the SDF,” she told a news conference. “And we work to help them focus on fighting ISIS [Daesh]. That is our sole responsibility. That's our sole commitment. And we'll continue to work by, with and through the SDF to ensure that we defeat ISIS.”

The U.S. has supported the SDF, which consists of the PKK/PYD and other groups, in fighting Daesh in Syria but has largely ignored its links to the PKK, which the U.S., EU and Turkey list as a terrorist group.

In a declaration of victory in Raqqah, the PKK/PYD also released a video dedicating the triumph to Ocalan, who founded the PKK in 1978. The head terrorist was jailed for treason in Turkey in 1999.

Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands have been killed.

Reporting by Kasim Ileri:Writing by Sibel Ugurlu

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