Turkey again asks US stop arming Kurdish militia in Syria
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
AA photoTurkey has once again asked the United States to stop giving arms to support the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 7.
“The U.S. says they don’t give arms to the YPG. But we know that they have done since the Kobane [battle between the YPG and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. We captured those arms from [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK militants in Turkey. So we know that the U.S. gives weapons to the YPG. And we told [U.S. Chief of General Staff Joseph] Dunford not give weapons to them,” Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with his Bosnian counterpart Igor Crnadak.
Washington has told Ankara that the YPG would only take part in the siege of Raqqa and not enter the city, ISIL’s de facto capital in Syria, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that there are still “weeks” until the Raqqa offensive is kicked off.
“We hope they [the U.S.] will keep their promise,” he said, adding that Turkey is nevertheless “taking measures” after its partners did not keep promises regarding the Syrian city of Manbij, from which Ankara has repeatedly demanded the YPG must withdraw.
Dunford’s visit on Nov. 6 came soon after the SDF began a long-anticipated operation to capture Raqqa from the jihadist group.
The SDF is dominated by the YPG militia, which Ankara says is an affiliate of the PKK. Ankara has stressed that the Kurds’ main militia should not be involved at all in the Raqqa offensive if the U.S. wants Turkey’s contribution.