US wants more information from Turkey to reconsider support for PYD

US wants more information from Turkey to reconsider support for PYD

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
US wants more information from Turkey to reconsider support for PYD

AFP photo

Washington will re-evaluate its assistance to Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the event Turkey provides detailed information on the party’s direct support to outlawed PKK elements operating in Turkey, a U.S. official has said.

“We have very strong concerns about PYD actions in northwest Syria … And of course we are very concerned about potential YPG military support from Syria to PKK elements operating in Turkey,” a senior U.S. official told the HDN on Feb. 25. 

“When that is raised with me, I continue to ask for the details of the incidents in which Turkish government says it has stopped it from happening. I continue to ask for those details so that if those incidents are happening, then we can try to undertake efforts to address them or to re-evaluate the very limited cooperation we have so far with the groups fighting DAESH,” the official said, using the Arabic acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

The U.S. has limited the supply of ammunition to the Syrian Arab forces that includes the PYD’s armed wing, the People Protection Units (YPG), in their fight against ISIL, but the move still caused unprecedented tension between Turkey and the U.S. 

Turkish media aired videos of the PYD using high-tech U.S.-made Javelin missiles in a show of the supply of its sophisticated weaponry system.

“I just want to underscore that the U.S. government has not deployed Javelin missiles or any weapons directly to the YPG. We have provided limited quantities of ammunition to the Syrian Arabs who fight with the YPG and not directly to the YPG,” the official noted. 

“The second thing: if you do any research on Javelin missiles, you will find that these missiles are manufactured in the U.S., but the US military is not the only one that purchases them. Several other NATO militaries and militaries of some non-NATO partners, maybe 10 or 15 countries, have purchased these missiles in the past and I assume that they have them in their inventories,” said the U.S. official. “I can’t obviously say whether or not one of those countries and militaries engaged to provide these to the PYD. I just don’t know.” 

The official said the U.S. was very sensitive to Turkish concerns over its security. “And that’s why we have been so conservative in what we are providing and more importantly to whom we are providing it.”

The reactions of the Turkish leadership on the issue are political implications emanating from these concerns, the official said. “Obviously we recognize that this is a very sensitive political issue. And that’s why you will continue to hear such strong statements from Washington, condemning PKK terrorism and calling on the PKK to cease the violence it [has committed] in Turkey.”