US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’

US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’

ŞANLIURFA – Doğan News Agency
US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’

AA photo

United States’ Ambassador to Ankara John Bass has said that the act of U.S. soldiers, who were pictured wearing insignia badges of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) during an offensive in Syria’s Raqqa against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was unauthorized and did not reflect the U.S.’ policy.

“Those actions by those individual [U.S.] soldiers [wearing the insignia patches of some of the Syrian Kurdish groups associated with the YPG], as the spokesperson for the Pentagon has said, [were] unauthorized and they have been corrected,” said Bass, during a visit to the southern province of Şanlıurfa on May 31.

“They don’t reflect a policy judgment by the United States with respect to the fight against DAESH,” said Bass, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL. 

An international coalition led by the U.S. is fighting ISIL and also showing support to local forces in Syria and Iraq which combat the jihadist group. 

“We continue to work very closely with the Turkish government and the Turkish military to find the best plans and operations that we can conduct together to support those Syrian groups who are fighting DAESH along Turkey’s border with Syria so that we can remove this threat to Kilis, surrounding areas and other communities inside Turkey,” said Bass, referring to strikes by ISIL from within Syria that have killed more than 20 people since January. 

Turkey and the U.S. are at odds over the designation of the YPG and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), as Turkey regards them as being offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while the U.S. regards the YPG and the PYD as “reliable” partners in the fight against ISIL. 

“The United States is supporting a number of groups inside Syria that are committed to fighting DAESH. The principal group we are supporting is a group of Syrian Arab fighters under the umbrella of the Syrian Arab Coalition,” Bass said. “And those are the groups that we are providing specific equipment and ammunition to, in their effort to combat DAESH.”