Nothing has changed about our policy on PYD: US State Dept Spox
by Daily Sabah with AA
ISTANBULFeb 10, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with AA
Feb 10, 2016 12:00 am
The U.S. said Tuesday that it still considers the Syrian wing of the PKK terrorist organization a non-terrorist entity.
"Nothing has changed about our policy on that," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters during a press briefing, but added that the U.S. considers PKK a foreign terrorist organization.
"Everybody who's contributing in the fight against Daesh has a role to play, or sometimes many roles to play. And we're going to continue to have discussions with everybody about how we can all put the proper amount of intensified pressure on this group [Daesh]."
While acknowledging Turkey's concerns about the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kirby said the U.S. would continue to have conversations with Turkey about the issue.
He said the U.S. appreciates Turkey's continued contributions to the coalition fighting Daesh and is looking for ways to improve its "partnership with Turkey and to, as a coalition, intensify efforts against Daesh".
Discussions continue regarding the establishment of a possible buffer zone along Turkey's border with Syria, but no decision has yet been reached, Kirby said.
There are some issues first needed to be "completely thoroughly vetted and thought through" before any implementation, he added.
Kirby's comments follow remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who voiced concerns about U.S. support for People's Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the PYD which is the Syrian branch of the PKK.
The U.S. considers the PYD "a reliable partner" fighting Daesh but Turkey sees it quite differently.
The difference in perspectives caused tension surrounding the Geneva talks in January when the question was unsettled of whether to invite the PYD to the negotiations.
After strong opposition by the Turkish government, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura decided to leave the PYD out of the meetings.
While the negotiations continued in Geneva without PYD, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke PYD leadership about "continued cooperation in the fight against Daesh in northern Syria".
One day later, de Mistura announced that the talks were suspended and would continue in late February.