“So let’s call it like it is – the YPG and the PKK for all essential purposes were one and the same.” Without a doubt, these words, written by a former senior CIA official, serve as a confession by Washington and verify Turkey’s long-standing arguments in opposition to its NATO ally U.S.’ partnership with the YPG terror group in northern Syria.
In an opinion piece published on the Just Security website on Monday, former CIA official Marc Polymeropoulos explained the reasons for Washington’s decision to primarily partner with the terrorist group in Syria and the later decision to withdraw its troops from the region despite the YPG’s opposition.
Questioning the tension between Turkey and the U.S. over the latter’s closed relationship with the Syrian wing of the PKK terrorist group, the YPG, the author admitted that American officials have known all along that both groups are essentially the same.
“First and foremost, our Syrian Kurdish partners – the Syrian Democratic Front (SDF) – largely consisted of members of the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG. As the Turkish government claimed, and many in the U.S. national security community fully grasped as well, the YPG was simply a rebrand of the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a longtime terrorist group that has killed thousands of innocent Turks, and indeed Americans, in its decades-long struggle against the Turkish state, a NATO ally of the United States,” Polymeropolous wrote, confirming all the arguments Turkey has defended for a long time.
The U.S. has primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria in the anti-Daesh fight. On the other hand, Turkey strongly opposed the YPG's presence in northern Syria, which has been a major sticking point in strained Turkey-U.S. relations. Ankara has long objected to the U.S.' support for the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and terrorizes local people, destroying their homes and forcing them to flee.
Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally's security concerns. While underlining that one cannot support one terrorist group in the fight against another, Turkey conducted its own counterterrorism operations, over the course of which it has managed to remove a significant number of terrorists from the region.
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