YPG responds to US criticism over Raqqa incident, praises PKK leader's ideology

Published 23.10.2017 20:55
Updated 23.10.2017 20:56

The PKK terrorist group's Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG), have said that without the ideologies of the PKK's convicted leader Abdullah Öcalan, the YPG would not be what it is today. The comments were made by the PYD and the YPG on a video released Sunday as it responded to the U.S. criticism of the groups for hanging banners with Öcalan's pictures in Raqqa, Syria last week. Even though the PKK is recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., the European Union, and Turkey, Washington provides military support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by the YPG, under the pretext of fighting Daesh in Syria.

In the controversial video, circulated by the YPG press office Sunday, YPG terrorists credited Öcalan's "ideology" in its battle against Daesh in Raqqa and rebuffed U.S.-criticism.

"All the victories, developments and gains achieved here are the results of a great battle that is based on his opinions and philosophy. If his ideological power hadn't been with us, we wouldn't know what to do in such situations," said one of the terrorists in the video.

"Raqqa and other Daesh-occupied cities could never have been rescued from the darkness," another terrorist added.

On Saturday, the U.S. Embassy in Turkey issued a statement reiterating its misgivings about Öcalan, in an apparent response to criticism from the Turkish government over the banners.

"The PKK is listed among foreign terror organizations. Öcalan has been jailed in Turkey for his actions related to the PKK. He is not a person to be respected," it said.

"We have been clear that the liberation of Raqqa is an accomplishment for all Syrians and we expect all parties to avoid actions that would be seen as offensive or create tensions," it added.

A similar statement was released Friday night by the U.S. State Department as spokesperson Heather Nauert underlined the importance of cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. in the fight against terrorism.

The statements come after a huge banner of the jailed terrorist leader was displayed by the PKK/PYD in the Syria's Raqqa Thursday after the city was cleared off Daesh presence.

In a declaration of their Raqqa victory, the PKK/PYD also released a video dedicating the triumph to Öcalan, who founded the PKK in 1978.

Although the U.S. remained quiet over the issue at first, it broke the silence following criticism by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish officials.

Multiple U.S. officials have so far condemned the move, expressing Washington's displeasure over banners and images featuring such "divisive" symbols.

According to Reuters, Öcalan's influence runs deep in the PYD-led regions that have emerged in northern Syria since its civil war began in 2011.

It also reported that "steps were underway to establish a new political system based on his ideas about federalism and local democracy."

Another terrorist, who identified himself as a Canadian national by the name of Hozan Kobane said the U.S. government's position on Öcalan was "a mistake" and "a bit behind the times."

Since the PKK launched its terror campaign against Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have lost their lives in attacks carried out by the group.

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