PKK-linked PYD's leader Muslim admits continuation of US arms support despite denials

Published 11.01.2017 00:00

While the U.S. Embassy in Ankara denies providing arms in support of the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD), PYD leader Salih Muslim has admitted that they are still receiving arms support from the U.S. ''We continue to have good relations with the U.S. according to information that we received from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the military assistance of the U.S. still continues," Muslim told the Russian news agency Sputnik on Jan. 10.

Previously on Dec. 28, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara categorically denied claims that the U.S. is not providing arms to the YPG, asserting: ''The U.S. government has not provided weapons or explosives to the YPG or the PKK – period. We have repeatedly condemned PKK terrorist attacks and the group's reprehensible violence in Turkey," the statement said. In response to this statement, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu argued that the U.S. is supplying weapons to PKK-affiliated YPG terrorists in Syria. "Until today, the U.S. has given weapons to the YPG," Çavuşoğlu said on Dec. 29

Ankara considers the YPG a terror group and the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed PKK, which itself is listed as a terror organization by the U.S., Turkey and the EU.

Turkey argues that there is no difference between the YPG and the PKK, as they share the same leadership, ideology and organic organizational links. Consequently, Ankara has repeatedly said that any military support give to the PYD/YPG would eventually be transferred to the PKK and ultimately be used against Turkey.

Unlike the PKK, Washington does not list the YPG as a terrorist group. Contrarily, the U.S. has previously sent military advisers and arms to Kobani to assist the YPG in its offensive on Manbij, located west of the Euphrates River near Aleppo.

Tensions between Turkey and the U.S. have particularly risen in recent months as Turkey demanded that all elements affiliated with the PKK terrorist organization must leave the Syrian town of Manbij, located on the western banks of the Euphrates River before crossing back to the eastern banks of the river after helping local Arab forces liberate the town of Daesh.

Although the Pentagon previously said the fighters had left the city, it later appeared that YPG terrorists had resumed their advance west of the Euphrates at the same time that U.S. officials were pledging the removal of the YPG presence.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its political arm the PYD will not be invited to planned peace talks in Kazakhstan, a PYD official said on Tuesday, an outcome that would leave a key player in the conflict off the negotiating table.

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