US denies providing ammunition to YPG over concerns for Syrian unity
ISTANBULThe United States is not providing ammunition to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) due to concerns over maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner has said in response to a question as to whether Washington had ruled out future military support to the YPG.
“They [YPG] have been effective. But we also have talked about some of the caveats – that we don’t want them developing some kind of semi-autonomous zone,” Toner said, adding the U.S. remains committed to the “unity and integrity of Syria.”
When asked whether providing military support to the YPG in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was necessarily related to the formation of a semi-autonomous or separate region within Syria, Toner explained the concern held for all Syrian groups.
What matters is that displaced persons are allowed to come back and live in liberated territories, Toner said. “[That goes for] whether it’s the YPG, whether it’s Syrian Arab groups, whether it’s Turkmen groups – whoever’s doing the liberating,” he added.
Reporters also questioned Toner on how the YPG was expected to advance solely taking advantage of air power and what the U.S. would do in the event the YPG approaches Russia to obtain ammunition.
Avoiding answering the question fully, Toner said they would let the public know if and when U.S. policy changes.
“Have you asked them to stop taking photographs next to arms shipments?” a reporter asked, implying the U.S. was providing military assistance despite statements to the contrary.
The written transcript of the meeting released on the official website of the State Department indicates that laughter was heard after the question.
In an interview with CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour on Nov. 9, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey would take all measures to stop arms shipments to the YPG.
“We will not and we cannot ... tolerate any help to any PKK-related groups in Syria or in Iraq,” he said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which shares ideological similarities with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG.