YPG no threat to Turkey, US top general argues
WASHINGTON – Reuters
The top U.S. commander in the campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) argued on March 1 that the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), does “not pose a threat to Turkey.”
“Of those YPG fighters, I’ve talked to their leaders and we’ve watched them operate and they continually reassure us that they have no desire to attack Turkey, that they are not a threat to Turkey, in fact that they desire to have a good working relationship with Turkey,” Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend told a Pentagon news briefing, speaking remotely via video conference.
“And I have seen absolutely zero evidence that they have been a threat to, or have supported any attacks on, Turkey from Northern Syria over the last two years,” he added.
Turkey regards the PYD and YPG as terrorist organizations due to their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but the U.S. sees them as a reliable partner in their fight against ISIL in northern Syria. The U.S. mainly supports the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is comprised mainly of YPG militia and some Arab forces, in the anti-ISIL coalition.