Three women who defected from the PKK affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria to Turkey said that soldiers from Western countries wear YPG uniforms in the terrorist group's camps. The women, whose trial on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization began after they surrendered to security forces in Kilis province, near the Syrian border, applied to the repentance law. Saying that they participated in the terrorist group under the guidance of their friends, the suspects spoke of the PYD and YPG's strong ties with the U.S. and U.K. "There are military camps of American and British soldiers in the Jazeera canton.
They also wear YPG uniforms. Most battalions in the Jazeera region have at least two or three foreign solders each," the women said.
Despite the PKK being listed as a terrorist group by the U.S., European Union, and U.K., the U.S.-led coalition supports the PYD and YPG as the most effective partner against Daesh, overlooking their proven links with the PKK.
Earlier this week, Alistair Burt, the British minister of state for the Middle East, acknowledged that the U.K. is aware of possible links between the PKK and YPG. "We are very concerned over possible links. We don't seek any link with the PKK and ourselves in any way," he said at a session of the House of Commons' Foreign Affairs Committee.
One of the defectors, K.Y., said that the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is also regarded as the leader of the YPG, conveyed messages through pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputies during their jailhouse visits. She contended that the PKK wants to form an independent state on Turkish, Iraqi and Iranian territory, adding that the YPG stores ammunition and weapons in secret cells in big cities such Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir to launch a large-scale insurgency.
The PKK's previous attempts to bring the war to urban areas collapsed in 2015 due to successful counterterror operations and a lack of cooperation from residents in the Southeast. Since then, the PKK has taken a heavy blow as a result of continuous counterterrorism operations.
YPG says it's forming an army in Syria
A leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is predominantly led by the YPG, has said that they are aiming to form their own army in Syria.
"We are rebuilding our own army to be ready to deal with any threat from anyone who wants to invade the cities we liberated alongside the coalition," Abdul Qader Effedili said, according to the British daily The Times.
Effedili argued that Turkey, Iran, and Syrian regime forces would be happy to take back the SDF-controlled areas.
The YPG have reportedly geared up efforts to establish a regular army called "The North Army" in northern Syria with U.S. assistance. According to information obtained by Anadolu Agency (AA) from local sources, the U.S. military completed training of 400 YPG members following an announcement from U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel on Dec. 22, 2017, about forming border guard regiments. The drills were done at a camp in south Hasakah and near the Tishrin Dam in eastern Aleppo with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Defense and the CIA.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday summoned U.S. Charge d'Affaires Philip Kosnett in Ankara to express its discomfort over the U.S support for the YPG, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.