US: Syrian Kurds and the PKK are not the same

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Kurdish fighters of the YPG and YPJ gathering in al-Hawl after liberating the town from ISIS militants. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – The US State Department said on Thursday that Washington makes a clear difference between Syrian Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkey (PKK). 

“And we’ve also been very clear that we view the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization, and as such, we work with Turkey on combating them,” US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

“But we draw clear delineation between the PKK and the Syrian Kurds, as I said, who are part of the many groups that are fighting against Daesh in northern Syria,” he said, using an Arabic abbreviation for the ISIS group.

According to Turkey there is no difference between the Syrian Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the PKK, but since the beginning the US administration has disagreed with this idea and kept supporting the YPG.

“We’ve talked on numerous occasions in this room about Turkey’s real concerns about Kurdish forces operating in northern Syria and, frankly, our support for those Kurdish forces who are, frankly, very capable forces fighting to remove Daesh from its foothold in northern Syria,” Toner said.

Nevertheless, he did not want to underplay or under-emphasize Turkey’s role in the anti-ISIS coalition.

“I think we’ve made real progress in the last year working with Turkey in order to bring more pressure to bear on Daesh in northern Syria, certainly through allowing us to use the Incirlik Air Base, but also working to close that I think 98-kilometer border pocket [Manbij] that has proved such a challenge,” he said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News

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