YPG members who leave ISIL fight for Afrin will lose US support: Pentagon spokesperson
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
Members of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) who leave anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) operations and mobilize in Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin will lose backing from the United States, the Pentagon told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 23.
“If they [U.S.-backed forces under the Syrian Democratic Forces or SDF] carry out military operations of any kind that are not specifically focused on ISIS, they will not have coalition support,” said Pentagon spokesperson Adrian Rankine-Galloway, using another acronym for ISIL.
“Let’s say for example, a unit of the YPG says, ‘Hey, we’ll no longer fight ISIS and we are going to support our brothers in Afrin,’ then they are on their own. They are not our partners anymore,” said the spokesperson.
The remarks were in response to a question from Anadolu Agency regarding reports that YPG convoys from the Qamishlo region in northeastern Syria were mobilizing to support YPG militants in Afrin.
Media reports have stated the mobilization followed Turkey’s launch of “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 “to remove PYD/PKK terrorists from Afrin.”
The operation intends to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians, according to the Turkish General Staff.
The U.S.’s relationship with its partner forces in Syria is not in the form of “command and control,” Rankine-Galloway said, adding that he could not say anything on such a mobilization.
“We provide training, advice and assistance to the forces that are carrying out military operations against [Daesh, the Arabic acronym for ISIL]. For example, we do not issue orders to our partnered forces [SDF] on the ground. That is not our relationship with them,” he said.
As for equipment the U.S. distributed to the group, Rankine-Galloway said the supplies were used against ISIL.
“If we observe scenarios in which that equipment is used for other purposes, we are going to take appropriate action that could include cutting off military assistance to them,” the spokesperson said.