PKK, YPG may be connected: US State Dept.

First time US suggests connection between two groups

PKK, YPG may be connected: US State Dept.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The terrorist PKK group and the YPG might be connected, the State Department said for the first time Friday. 

"I can't categorically say that there's not, you know, any connections," spokesman Mark Toner said during a press briefing. 

The U.S. still considered these two groups as "separate entities" and would continue to advise and assist the YPG in anti-ISIL operations in northern Syria, he added. 

The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD -- the Syrian offshoot of PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

While Turkey views the PYD and YPG as terrorist groups, Washington continues to support the YPG as an "effective partner" in the fight against ISIL.

The U.S. has provided air cover to the group and U.S. troops have been sent on an advise and assist mission to help the YPG fight ISIL. 

Toner's comments come one day after images surfaced of U.S. troops wearing YPG patches during an operation in Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIL in northern Syria.

The U.S. did not immediately comment on the issue.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey grew with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying Friday that it was "unacceptable" for U.S. soldiers to wear an insignia of a terrorist organization as America is an ally of Turkey. 

"Our suggestion to them is that they should also wear ISIL, al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda insignias during their operations in other regions of Syria. They can also wear the Boko Haram insignia when they go to Africa," Cavusoglu said. 

Asked to comment on Cavusoglu's remarks and whether it could signal a crisis between the U.S. and Turkey, Toner declined, citing "operational security." 

He said the U.S. understands Turkey's concerns regarding northern Syria and would continue to work through those issues by providing stronger border security and doing other things that could strengthen the relationship with Ankara. 

"Turkey ... continues to be an active member and we're grateful for Turkey's support," he said.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Mayıs 2016, 09:25