After the U.S. approved providing heavy weaponry to the terrorist PKK's Syrian offshoots, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG), ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Washington, Turkey's Ministry of Interior published a comprehensive report Monday revealing the close ties between the PKK and the PYD/YPG with official findings showing the group is committing major human rights violations against civilians as well as ethnic cleansing.
The report by the Ministry of Interior stated, "The PYD/YPG terrorist groups have been kidnapping, detaining and executing those individuals that they consider the enemy in northern Syria." This statement was evocative of a report previously published in January 2016 by the Syrian Network of Human Rights (SNHR) which stated, "Until the date of publication of the SNHR report, it was noted that at least 407 civilians, including 51 children, 43 women and scores of other individuals have lost their lives either being tortured or killed by the PYD/YPG." Although President Erdoğan described his upcoming visit to Washington as a "milestone" in diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Trump administration's decision to arm the PYD/YPG with heavy weaponry is drawing ire from Turkish officials. Likewise, Erdoğan affirmed that the issue will be discussed during bilateral meetings with his American counterpart.
Washington and Ankara disagree on the utilization of forces on the ground in the military operation to liberate Raqqa from Daesh. Turkey believes that the U.S.'s partnering force, the YPG/PYD, is an extension of the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and Turkey.
The recently published report also includes testimony from incarcerated members of the PKK including a terrorist known as C.K. who said, "The PYD was formed in order to recruit members for the PKK in Syria. It is part of the terrorist organization and it tries to exercise democratic autonomy in Syria."
The report further includes testimony from the co-head of the PYD, Salih Muslim, who is quoted as saying, "There is a philosophical, ideological rapprochement between us and the PKK."
In addition to the PYD/YPG's apparent links with the PKK, the report also sheds light on those who were threatened, killed or tortured by the PYD in Syria. The report indicates that while at least 407 people were killed by the PYD, "[A total of] 1,651 people were either detained or designated as missing persons and no information was found on them."
In addition to accusations of murder and the number of civilians unaccounted for, the PYD/YPG demolished 19 villages while locals there were exiled, according to the report.
"In villages seized by the PYD/YPG, the non-Kurdish population was displaced under threat and armed violence amid [the PYD/YPG's aims] of ethnic cleansing," the report stated in reference to the SNHR's report.
The SNHR report included, within the findings of the Ministry of Interior, that, "The PYD/YPG terrorist organization killed 51 children and abducted 111 kids between 2011 and 2015."
Similarly, the Tactical Action Report (TAR) conducted previously by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) also confirmed the affiliation between the PKK and the PYD/YPG terror groups. In an unclassified report, TRADOC described the PKK as "an armed separatist group," noting that the YPG had formed an alliance with the PKK in Syria.
Providing in-depth details regarding the battle for the Sinjar region using a map, the U.S. Army report, dated 2016, pointed out how the terrorist PKK worked jointly with the YPG and the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBŞ).
Meanwhile, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the primary organization of the U.S. government for the integration and analysis of all intelligence pertaining to terrorism possessed or acquired by the U.S. government, previously described the PYD/YPG in Syria as the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK-KONRA-GEL (KGK), belying the former U.S. President Barack Obama administration's claims that they are separate organizations. However, hours after the NCTC's release describing the PYD as the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist KGK, access to the webpage was blocked.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, while Turkey also considers the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG, a terror group. However, the U.S. has called the YPG a key ally in the fight against Daesh in Syria despite Turkey's repeated calls for the U.S. to end its support for the PYD/YPG.