US official sees YPG as conduit for American interest in Syria

RAGIP SOYLU @ragipsoylu
WASHINGTON, DC
Published

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told his Turkish counterpart last week in Brussels that the American partnership with Syria's People's Protection Units (YPG) was a temporary necessity.

It seems like some senior U.S. officials who are running the anti-Daesh campaign do not agree with this assessment. In an article published, and later bizarrely deleted last week by regional news website ARA News, a U.S. official differed from the U.S.'s fundamental talking point to Turkey that U.S. - YPG relations are destined to end once Daesh is defeated.

The YPG is the armed Syrian wing of the PKK, a designated terrorist group in the eyes of the law in the U.S. and Turkey.

The official, speaking about the scenarios following Daesh's defeat, said, it was possible for the Syrian regime to make a deal with the YPG, and its political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and underlined the fact that Washington has a vested interest in maintaining its influence within Syria in the near future.

"The U.S. has a vested interest in maintaining influence in Syria, and the most expedient way for the regime to reestablish access to northern and eastern Syria, its agricultural land and oil fields, is via negotiation with the PYD and YPG," the official was quoted as saying.

The Barack Obama administration was infamous in Ankara for not meeting its promises; several conflicting messages coming out of Washington shows the Trump administration might follow the same course.

Turkish officials said last month that U.S. Defense Secretary Mattis promised that the U.S. partnership with the YPG would end following the liberation of Raqqa. However Mattis last Tuesday signaled that the Pentagon and the YPG could work together even after Raqqa.

The U.S.-led coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon also said last week, during a televised briefing, that the U.S. and its partnered forces could pursue Daesh targets in Deir ez-Zor and Abu Kamal along the Syrian border, depending on the regime advances toward these locations.

"We are going to have to see how far the regime makes it, you know, where they are going to concentrate their efforts. Are they going to go to Deir ez-Zor and Deir ez-Zor only? Are they going to go to Abu Kamal?" he said.

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