Ankara Accuses US of Arming Syrian Kurds Despite Assurances to the Contrary
12:22 08.11.2016(updated 13:10 08.11.2016)
Ankara accused Washington of arming Kurdish People's Protection Units in Syria despite assurances to the contrary.
ANKARA (Sputnik) – The United States continues to supply weapons to Kurdish forces in Syria despite assurances to the contrary, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday.
"The US says it does not give weapons to the YPG [People's Protection Units], but we know that they do. We see that the YPG and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] are the same and arming them is wrong. We know that the US continues to give them weapons, and we have expressed our concerns with the fact," Cavusoglu said.
Speaking at a press conference, the Turkish diplomat cited further US assurances that the YPG would not take part in the campaign to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from the Daesh jihadist group, which he envisioned to commence within weeks.
Turkey is a part of the US-led coalition, targeting terrorists in Syria, but views the Syrian Kurdish militias as allied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
In late September, reports emerged in media that the United States was supplying the Syrian Kurds with light arms. Turkey's President Erdogan condemned the move and referred to previous cases when US arms were seized by extremists.
Turkish and US troops agreed to coordinate their anti-Daesh efforts through the US Embassy in Ankara, Cavusoglu said.
"It is important for high-ranking military officials were in Ankara, and they will work in the US Embassy. This was our general staff's proposal, the US accepted it," the minister said.
The diplomat stressed that similar mechanisms for better coordination exist not only with the US, but with other countries, including Russia.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting the Syrian opposition groups striving to overthrow President Bashar Assad. At the same time, Damascus has to counter numerous extremist groups, in particular, Daesh, outlawed in Russia.
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