US State Dept. spokesperson describes terrorist YPG as 'PKK'

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published
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U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday described the terrorist People's Protection Units (YPG) in northwestern Syria as "PKK."

During a press briefing, Nauert said that Turkey was dealing with the "PKK instead of fighting Daesh."

"We understand Turkey's concerns regarding this matter," the spokesperson said, adding retrospectively that she actually meant to say "YPG" and not PKK.

Nauert went on to say that the White House readout put forth both President Donald Trump's and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's concerns regarding Syria.

Meanwhile, U.S. and Turkish military commanders discussed the possibility of creating a "secure zone" along the border with Syria, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday amid Turkey's ongoing military operation in northwestern Syria's Afrin against the YPG and Daesh.

"We monitor the weapons we have provided [YPG] carefully and ensure that weapons do not fall into the wrong hands," Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said in a statement.

The U.S. government has long supported the YPG terrorist group with a vast amount of military equipment and heavy armament to fight Daesh. Despite Ankara's concerns, former U.S. President Barack Obama initiated the support program, which so far has sent nearly 5,000 truckloads and 2,000 planeloads of weapons. This has been continued by the Trump administration.

The lack of consistency from the Trump administration regarding the U.S.'s activities in Syria has fueled tensions and deepened the rift in relations with Turkey that was already complicated.

Operation Olive Branch was launched Saturday, targeting the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliates the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the YPG supported by the United States, as well as the remaining Daesh elements in Afrin region on the Turkish-Syrian border.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protect Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

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