US calls Erdogan statements ‘ludicrous’, denies arming YPG

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Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan. File photo

ARA News 

Erbil – The US government called the statements by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing the US-led coalition of supporting ‘terrorist’ groups including ISIS “ludicrous”.

The US also denied arming the Kurdish YPG forces in Syria.

The statements by the Turkish government follow severe losses in al-Bab city with over 16 Turkish soldiers killed by ISIS last week.

Turkey and allied rebel groups in Syria have so far failed to capture the city of al-Bab since the launch of the Euphrates Shield Operation in August.

“I mean, it’s ludicrous, to be honest. No basis for truth, as you can all imagine. I don’t think anyone could look at our actions on the ground leading the coalition in northern Syria, in Iraq and say anything other than that we’re 100 percent behind the defeat, destruction of Daesh [ISIS], and even beyond Syria and Iraq, seeing its networks dismantled, destroyed around the region and the world,” US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said on Tuesday.

I can give you a rundown on what we’re doing. You don’t need to hear it. You know what we’re doing in terms of the coalition, and in fact, we’re working constructively with Turkey to lead those efforts. And Turkey is playing a part and we have constant dialogue and discussion with Turkey about how we can better leverage both of our efforts,” toner told reporters in Washington.

Moreover, the US State Department said they support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but have not armed the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG is a leading member of the Syrian Democratic Forces, that are combating ISIS in northern Syria.

“So we do provide tactical support to the Syrian Democratic Forces. There’s no surprise there. We’ve been very transparent about that. That’s to help us all achieve our shared goal of defeating Daesh. The Syrian Democratic Forces have, as we’ve said many times, proven to be a very capable force against Daesh, and our tactical support for them will continue,” Toner stated.

“As we’ve also said before, we’ve never provided weapons to the YPG. And we have provided equipment to vetted Arab elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces. This equipment has – (cell phone rings). Someone’s waking up? This equipment has included ammunition and other tactical equipment to assist the coalition’s counter-ISIL [ISIS] operations. But let me be clear that we reject any group providing support to the PKK or enabling its terrorist campaign within Turkey,” he said.

Also the US embassy in Turkey rejected reports and ‘misinformation’ in the Turkish media.

“There is considerable misinformation circulating in Turkish media concerning U.S. and Coalition operations against ISIL in Syria,” the embassy said. “The United States government is not supporting DAESH. The USG did not create or support DAESH in the past. Assertions the United States government is supporting DAESH are not true,” the embassy said.

Moreover, the embassy denied providing any weapons to YPG or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The United States government has not provided weapons or explosives to the YPG or the PKK – period. We repeatedly have condemned PKK terrorist attacks and the group’s reprehensible violence in Turkey,” the embassy added, suggesting they will continue to work with Turkey to determine how to defeat ISIS, and continue discussions about how to support rebel groups near al-Bab.

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