US State Department emphasizes: “YPG and PKK are separate entities”

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

ARA News

AKRE – The United States government continues to see the People’s Protection Forces (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as separate entities, the US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark C. Toner said in response to comments of Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The president of the Kurdistan region Masoud Barzani said in an interview on Tuesday that there is no difference between the YPG, and the PKK. “Any support to the PYD [political leadership of YPG] means support for the PKK,” he told Al Monitor’s Amberin Zaman. “They are exactly one and the same thing.”

“They [Americans] know very well, but they don’t want to say they know very well. … You know the top priority for us and the Americans is the fight against ISIS, so they might turn a blind eye,” he said.

In a reaction, Mr. Toner said that the US will stay committed to their policy of supporting the YPG, while condemning the PKK. 

“We view the PKK as a foreign terrorist organization. We condemn the violence that it carries out against Turkish civilians and citizens,” Toner said.

“And separately, we have been working with the PYD – or YPG, rather, in parts of Syria as part of a number of groups we’re working with who are actively fighting and dislodging Daesh or ISIL from territory it controls,” he added.

Nevertheless, the US State Department Spokesperson said there are disagreements over territory and federalism.

“That doesn’t mean we haven’t had disagreements with them when they try to hold territory or not – or declare semi-autonomous self-rule zones. We disagree with them on that and we have frank discussions with them about that,” he added.

“But they are part of a number of groups that have been very effective in taking the fight against – or taking the fight, rather, to Daesh. I respect his [Barzani’s] opinion, just as we respect and listen to the Turkish authorities when they express their concerns to us, but we still view those [YPG and PKK] as two separate entities,” he stated.

ARA News 

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