PYD not terrorist under US law, Turkey should provide them support: Washington
US Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf speaks during a daily briefing. DHA PhotoThe Democratic Union Party (PYD) is not a terrorist organization under the U.S. law despite its affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a U.S. official has said, adding that Washington has told Ankara the importance of providing support to the group in their fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“The PYD is a different group than the PKK legally, under United States law,” U.S. Department of State Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said during a daily press briefing on Oct. 20.
The PYD’s military wings, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and its all-female branch the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), have been leading the fight against ISIL’s latest assault on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, located across the Turkish border.
“We made it clear to Turkey that we believe it’s incredibly important to support groups like the PYD, these Kurdish fighters and a small number of non-Kurdish fighters on the ground are pushing back against ISIL,” Harf added.
Turkey had opened a corridor to the town on Oct. 20 to let Kurdish Peshmerga fighters cross to the front. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeatedly said it was out of question to provide support to the PYD, adding that the Turkish state considered it a terrorist group, the same way as ISIL.
Harf stressed that, contrary to Turkey, Washington was making a distinction between the PKK and the PYD, as the latter does not figure in the list of terrorist groups.
Her statement came after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the airdrop of weapons to the Kurds fighting ISIL as a “momentary effort” to respond to an emergency situation.
Kerry said both he and President Barack Obama called their Turkish counterparts to stress the airdrop “is not a shift in policy by the United States.”