Turkey concerned about U.S. support to Syrian Kurds

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Kurds bury YPG fighters killed during clashes against ISIS in Aleppo. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

ISTANBUL – The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu showed resentment after the U.S. dropped ammunition to the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) ــwho are combatting the Islamic State’s (ISIS) extremists in neighboring Syria. 

Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) ــmain Kurdish political party in Syriaــ confirmed that 50 tons of ammunition were dropped to the Kurdish YPG forces, pointing out this is just the beginning, and more weapons are to be sent. 

In response to Turkey’s remarks, Washington said it provided some vetted Syrian Arab groups with small arms and ammunition, adding it will continue providing the Kurdish forces with ammunition.

“This seeks to build on some of the successes that those forces have had in clearing Syrian territory and is supported by coalition airstrikes,” Mark Toner, a State Department spokesperson, said in a statement.

The Kurdish YPG forces have been the most effective force on the ground pushing back ISIS extremists and have received regular help from U.S.-led airstrikes.

Last week, the YPG announced the formation of a new joint force under the banner “Syrian Democratic Forces”. The new alliance includes Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians with the aim to combat ISIS in different areas across Syria. 

The Kurdish forces and their allies are expected soon to launch an offensive on the ISIS’ de-facto capital of Raqqa, according to activists.

Turkey’s concern is that the YPG in Syria may send weapons to the affiliated armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been in conflict with the Turkish authorities for more than three decades.  

Davutoglu warned that Turkey could take action against Syrian Kurdish forces if the weapons become a threat to Turkey.

Turkey has long been a supporter of Syrian rebel factions, including some extremist Islamic groups such as Syria’s branch of al-Qaeda, al-Nusra Front.

Russian intervention in Syria has put more pressure on Turkey’s efforts because it bolsters Assad, which was faltering after four years of devastating war in the country. 

Russia said it was launching airstrikes to target ISIS, but several local reports indicate it has been hitting moderate rebels. 

Pro-Assad forces made a notable advancement against rebel factions, backed by Iranian military plans and Russian airstrikes. The Assad regime is currently focused on retaking Homs province from rebels. 

Reporting by: Egid Yousef

Source: ARA News

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