Kurdish official: US does not have to choose between the Kurds and Turkey

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Ilham Ahmed, the co-president of the Democratic Council of Syria. File photo

ARA News

Ilham Ahmed, the co-president of the Democratic Council of Syria, said that the United States should not choose between Turkey and the Kurds in Syria.

Ahmed accused Turkey of turning a blind eye to terrorism.

“Erdogan is trying to force the United States to choose between us [Syrian Kurds] and Turkey. We don’t think such a choice is necessary, but it is worth considering what that choice entails,” she said.

“The Turks said they bombed our headquarters because they claimed our territory is being used to launch attacks against Turkey, but those accusations are unfounded,” she said in an op-ed published by the Washington Post.

“Let me be as clear as can be: We have never used northern Syria to launch any attack against Turkey. If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t trust us when we say this, fine. But why can’t he trust the U.S. personnel in our area who assure him of the same?”

“Erdogan justifies these illegal attacks with the same baseless claim: that the YPG is the same as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is currently fighting the government inside Turkey. This claim is based on the fact that we share a founder and many intellectual values with the PKK — but this is equally true of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), a legal political party in Turkey with 58 members in the Turkish parliament,” she stated.

“They are no more PKK than we are, and any attempt to equate us with the PKK is disingenuous,” she added.

“Erdogan knows this. He knows that our political and military leadership is completely separate from that of the PKK. He knows that any attempt to combine YPG with PKK would run contrary to our core value of decentralization of power. He knows we are not using northern Syria to launch attacks on Turkey. He knows all this. He just doesn’t care,” co-president of the Democratic Council of Syria said.

Furthermore, she accused Turkey of doing nothing to defeat al-Qaida in Syria.

“If Erdogan was a true U.S. ally, then instead of dropping bombs on the headquarters of the YPG, which currently hosts more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel, Turkey would seek to destroy al-Qaeda, which has set up bases in Idlib, right along the Turkish border. Al-Qaeda in Idlib is among the largest affiliates in the organization’s history. (That’s according to U.S. officials, by the way.) Yet Turkey does nothing,” she added, while the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are 10 miles away from Raqqa–the ISIS’ de facto capital.

“In the past month alone, the SDF captured dozens of villages around Raqqa from the Islamic State, and we will not stop until the last supporter of the caliphate has been vanquished,” she said.

“To be clear, we do not want to escalate the conflict with Turkey. Yes, we believe that Erdogan, who is turning a blind eye to terrorism as he aspires to build his totalitarian state, is on the wrong side of history. As he looks outward in his aggression, we look inward, in a spirit of optimism and progress, toward a better Syria,” she stated.

“We do not believe that the United States needs to choose between us and Turkey. With each passing day, however, it becomes clearer who the United States’ true ally in this conflict is,” she concluded.

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