The United States Ambassador to Ankara, John Bass said on Friday that Turkey has the right to defend itself and that Washington does not welcome any organization launching terrorist attacks on Turkish territory from Syria.
Answering questions by Turkish journalists at a reception held at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Bass said that Washington knows Turkey "has a right to defend itself" in the face of terrorist attacks.
When asked about the YPG threat Turkey faces in Syria, Bass underscored that the United States "does not support any organization launching attacks from Syria."
Responding to a question about whether the U.S. has conveyed its reservations to Turkey over a possible military operation on the ground against the YPG in Afrin, Bass said that the U.S. military has been in close contact with the Turkish army.
"We remain in close touch with the Turkish military about its intentions. It is important for all of the members of the coalition to continue to put the focus on eliminating Daesh's last strongholds," Bass said.
The U.S. Envoy underlined that Washington prioritizes retaking Daesh-held Raqqa in cooperation with the YPG. "Our current priority in Syria is first and foremost continuous to be defeating Daesh," Bass said, adding that the Trump administration wants to make sure Daesh "does not pose a threat to U.S., Turkey, and the rest of the world any longer."
Ankara and Washington have fallen out on the YPG issue. While Ankara considers the YPG to be a terrorist group, Washington is opting to work with it in northern Syria.
While Washington has not changed its approach towards Ankara's calls regarding the U.S.-YPG relationship, arms and equipment transfers to the YPG has further put strain on Turkish-U.S. relations.
Earlier in 2017, the Donald Trump administration approved to supply tons of heavy weapons and ammunition to the YPG. Up to that time, the U.S. air force had already airdropped 50 tons of arms and ammunition to the group in October 2015.
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