Türkİye, World, Middle East

YPG who leaves group for Afrin to lose US support

Similar consequences if equipment to fight Daesh used elsewhere, US military spokesman tells Anadolu Agency

Safvan Allahverdi   | 23.01.2018
YPG who leaves group for Afrin to lose US support

Washington DC

By Safvan Allahverdi


YPG elements who leave anti-Daesh operations and mobilize in Afrin, Syria, will lose backing from the U.S., the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

"If they [U.S.-backed forces under the SDF] carry out military operations of any kind that are not specifically focused on ISIS they will not have coalition support," according to Pentagon spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway in reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.

"Let’s say for example, a unit of YPG says, 'Hey, we'll no longer fight ISIS and we are going to support our brothers in Afrin.’” then they are on their own, he said. "They are not our partners anymore."

The remarks were in response to an Anadolu Agency's question regarding reports that PYD/PKK convoys from the Kamisli region in northeastern Syria were mobilizing to support the PYD/PKK militants in Afrin.

Media reports have stated the mobilization followed Turkey’s launch of Operation Olive Branch on Saturday to remove PYD/PKK terrorists from the northern Syrian city.

The military operation intends to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region, as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists, according to Turkish General Staff.

The U.S.'s relationship with its partner forces in Syria is not in the form of "command and control", Rankine-Galloway said, adding that he cannot say anything on such a mobilization.

"We provide training, advice and assistance to the forces that are carrying out military operations against [Daesh]," he said. "We do not issue order for example to our partnered forces [SDF] on the ground. That is not our relationship with them."

As for equipment the U.S. distributed to the group, Rankine-Galloway said the supplies were used against Daesh.

"If we observe scenarios in which that equipment is used for other purposes, we are going to take appropriate action that could include cutting off military assistance to them," he said.

Such a move, he said, would comprise all "local partners", including those in Al-Tanf.z

The U.S. supports the PYD/YPG -- considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.

As PKK terror campaign has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths in Turkey, American support for its sister group has long vexed Ankara.

Washington views the PYD/PKK-led umbrella group, SDF, as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections from Turkey.

*Anadolu Agency correspondent Kasim Ileri in Washington contributed to this report.

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