The Kremlin has voiced concerned over Washington's continuous support for the PKK's Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG), saying the United States is using Daesh as an excuse to prolong its presence in Syria.
Issuing a press statement following the end of the first day of the 11th round of the Astana talks, Russia's special envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, said in a press conference that Moscow does not understand the military presence of the U.S. in northern Syria. "One and half years ago, the U.S. said that it needed six months to put an end to Daesh. They extended that to one year. Now they say, we will remain until Daesh is annihilated. In a small region located on the Syrian-Iraq border, there are about 1,000-1,500 remaining terrorists. Compare that with the 60,000 Kurdish [YPG] military forces. The U.S. is using the fight against Daesh to maintain its presence in Syria," Lavrentiev added.U.S. officials recently said that the Daesh threat in Syria will soon be eliminated, yet the U.S. is persists in its collaboration with the YPG, describing it as "efficient in the fight against Daesh." James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to Syria, stated on Nov. 15 that the U.S. administration hopes that the fight against Daesh, in its last foothold in northeastern Syria, will end within months, adding that the U.S. does not recognize the YPG as a terrorist group.
Even there are only small numbers of Daesh terrorists remaining in Syria, Washington has been seeking to increase the number of YPG terrorists in the region. Ankara has been persistently asserting that a terror group cannot be used against another terror group. In February, the U.S. announced its plans to form a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria with the YPG, which it later backtracked from after harsh reactions from Ankara.
Regarding the U.S.' support to the YPG, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Saturday that the U.S. is using the Daesh terrorist group as a pretext to maintain its military presence in Syria and views the terror outfit as an ally to push regime change in the country.
While the YPG's ultimate aim is to establish an autonomous region in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people.