The U.S. on Thursday downplayed a recent deal between the U.S.-backed People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh allowing safe passage for Daesh terrorists, including top figures, from Raqqa, and instead, urged all sides to seek political solutions. The YPG is the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliate Democratic Union Party's (PYD) militia.
"With respect to all of that, we continue to encourage all parties to seek political solutions and we continue to work with the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] because our focus is to defeat ISIS [Daesh]," Pentagon chief spokesperson Dana White told Anadolu Agency (AA) at a press briefing, using a different acronym for the terrorist group, when asked to comment on Turkey's criticism of the U.S. stance on the deal.
A BBC report revealed details of the agreement between the SDF, which is predominantly composed of YPG militants, and Daesh to arrange the evacuation of thousands of militants, including some of the most notorious, and their families from Raqqa, with 10 trucks loaded with weapons and ammunition on Oct. 12. The report contains secret footage, interviews with drivers who transported the militants and some Syrians, including a shopkeeper and a smuggler who spoke on condition of anonymity.
After the extent of the deal was revealed, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh, Col. Ryan Dillon, said on Twitter that the U.S. tolerated the agreement. "This was a local solution to a local issue. Coalition did not fully agree, but respected our partners decision," he said on Twitter.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ criticized the U.S. position on the agreement earlier this week and said the terrorist groups could not have possibly made such an agreement without U.S. knowledge.
Meanwhile, the SDF on Thursday confirmed defection of the groups' spokesperson, Talal Silo, to Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces.
The U.S.-backed group led by YPG militants, contended that Silo made the decision due to pressure from Turkey.
Earlier this week, the SDF said in a statement they had lost contact with Silo, who served as a spokesman for the group, but had resigned his post.