US spokesperson: Some allied forces ‘going to Afrin’
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
United States Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert said on Feb. 22 that “some of the forces [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)] that we are working with in the east, we are seeing starting to go to Afrin.”
The forces the U.S. is working with “have familial relations, familial ties there, perhaps that’s part of the reason why,” said Nauert, speaking at a press conference.
“What is going on in Afrin is taking away from the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL],” said the spokesperson.
The U.S. is in Syria “to fight ISIL,” she said, reiterating a previous statement.
The U.S. has called the Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] a “reliable ally” in its fight against ISIL, despite strong protests by Turkey, which has highlighted the PYD’s continuing terrorist threat to both Syrians and Turkey’s border regions.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear YPG militants from the northwestern Syrian province of Afrin.