US ‘very sensitive’ to Turkey’s YPG concerns
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoThe United States is “very sensitive” to Turkey’s concerns regarding the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military arm of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), America’s top diplomat said Feb. 25.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers the U.S. had been talking “considerably” with Turkey regarding the dispute the two countries have about the YPG in northern Syria.
“We need to respect Turkey’s concerns, and we will, we have, we believe,” Kerry said.
“Going forward is very important that there not be a different problem created by the short-term solution of working with the Kurds, and then that creates a longer-term challenge for all of us in the region,” he said. “So we’re working very, very carefully.”
An ongoing rift between Turkey and the U.S. has emerged over the different designation of the PYD and YPG. While Turkey says the two groups are offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and thus are terrorist organizations, the U.S. designates the PKK as a terrorist organization but sees the PYD and YPG as a reliable partner in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Citing the recapture of the city of Kobane in northern Syria by Kurdish forces, Kerry said local ground forces were needed in order to fight ISIL.
“There are different Kurds because some are more prepared and more comfortable working with Turkey than others are, and those divisions are very complicated and need to be managed carefully,” he said.
“We are talking with the Turks right now about how to proceed in ways that do not cross important lines for them and that respect the sensitivities of the region and I’m confident we will be able to do that.”
Since Feb. 13, Turkish military has been shelling northern Syria intermittently in retaliation to artillery fire from PYD forces based around Azez, close to the border with Turkey.
Kerry also said the U.S. opposes the recently proposed sale of Russian Sukhoi-30 fighter jets to Iran.
“There’s a committee and it’s in approval in the committee, but we would not approve it,” he said, referring to the U.N. Security Council.
The Russian twin-engine multi-role jet is comparable to the American F-15E bomber, which are all-weather fighters with a “proven design that is undefeated in air-to-air combat,” according to Boeing.