Turkey welcomes US statement to not provide arms to YPG
AFP photoAnkara has welcomed a U.S. statement that the country is not currently providing arms to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military force protecting the northern Syrian region of Rojava.
“We have gladly noted [the U.S. statement],” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said following a statement by Col. Steve Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“We previously conveyed our concerns,” Bilgiç told reporters Nov. 5 adding that they would “resolutely follow how this will be implemented in the field.”
“As of now, we are not providing weapons or ammunition to the YPG. The weapons that we’ve provided thus far, with the ammunition that we’ve provided in our one airdrop executed, was for the Syrian-Arab coalition,” Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, told reporters via teleconference from Baghdad.
“As of now, future resupplies will also go to Arab-vetted Syrian opposition members,” he added, after a reporter said a senior defense official had recently said the YPG would not be receiving any ammunition or weapons. “So, you know, as of now, that’s where our policy stands.”
Turkey regards the YPG as “terrorists” like the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been involved in a fight against the Turkish state for greater cultural rights for over 30 years. The state launched a peace process to solve the Kurdish problem in the country in the early 2010s, but the solution process was halted by the state during the run-up to Turkey’s general elections on June 7.
Responding to a question as to whether or not the U.S. would talk to Turkey about the issue, Warren said they were in “very close contact” with Turkey.
“Obviously the Turks have concerns. You know, they’re our partners and allies. We’re going to address those concerns. We’re going to work with them to achieve our common goal, which is to defeat ISIL,” Warren said.