Although U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter confirmed links between the PKK and its Syrian affiliates the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said nothing has changed in United States' policy on the organizations.
"Secretary Carter today seems to have suggested that there was a direct link between the YPG forces in Syria and the PKK, which you designate as a terrorist group. It – that was in response to a question by [Senator] Lindsey Graham in today's hearing. He said, yes, that – when Graham asked him whether there was a link. So is there a mixed message sent out from this building and the Pentagon about the nature of the group YPG," a journalist asked during a daily press briefing on Thursday.
Kirby responded by saying he had not heard Carter's comments on the issue, and added: "I'd let them – let him speak for his views and the Pentagon's views. Nothing's changed about our take here." When asked again to state whether the U.S. sees the YPG as a PKK affiliate, Kirby said: "I'm going to tell you clearly, as I've said before, our position on the PKK and the YPG have not changed," adding that the YPG is not a designated foreign terrorist organization.