Turkey demanded on Tuesday that its allies, led by the United States, “stop all support” to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main Kurdish militia in Syria, which Ankara considers a terrorist movement while they benefit from Washington’s support in the fight against the jihadists of the Islamic State.
“We affirm to all our interlocutors, the United States in particular, that the YPG is equivalent to the PKK and we forcefully demand from them that all support for terrorists cease”, said Tuesday, November 22, the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, referring to the separatists of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Like Turkey, the United States and the European Union regard the PKK as a terrorist organization.
The US State Department had earlier appealed to the ” de-escalation “in response to Turkish President’s remarksRecep Tayyip Erdogan, who threatened Monday to order a ground offensive in northern Syria, after a series of air raids against Kurdish positions in the region and in Iraq.
Moscow calls on Ankara to exercise restraint
Ankara, which accuses the PKK and the YPG of being behind the attack which left six dead and 81 injured on Sunday, November 13 in Istanbul – which the two movements denied – has long threatened to drive out Kurdish fighters from northern Syria.
“We call for de-escalation in Syria to protect civilians and support the common goal of defeating ISIS”writes Ned Price, spokesman for the United States Department of State, in a press release. “We continue to oppose any uncoordinated military action in Iraq that violates its sovereignty”, he added. Russia, engaged militarily alongside Damascus, also called on Turkey on Tuesday to show ” detention “ and to beware of “any excessive use of force” in Syria.
The Turkish Air Force on Sunday launched Operation “Sword Claw”, a series of raids that targeted PKK and YPG positions in northern Iraq and Syria. According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), established Monday evening, thirty-seven people, including eighteen members of the forces loyal to the Syrian regime, lost their lives in these raids on the Syrian side. Rocket fire from Syria killed two people on Monday in the Turkish town of Karkamis (southeast).