US official: PYD is clearly linked to PKK

Translation Nouha Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 19, 2019, 4:37:03 PM wire INTERNATIONALMILITARYPOLITICS USA

Turkey – SMART

On Saturday, the United States Senator Lindsey Graham said that the Democratic Union Party (PYD/ YPG) is clearly linked to the globally recognized terrorist group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

During a press conference in Ankara, Graham stressed the importance of protecting Turkey and solving the problem the US "created" for Ankara, referring to the US support of the terrorist YPG/PYD. Graham said that by arming the YPG, the US knew that it would have repercussions affecting the US relationship with Turkey, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

Graham added that it would be a "nightmare for Turkey" if the US forces withdrew from Syria without solving the YPG problem and Turkey would be forced to deal with the YPG.

The planned US withdrawal from Syria must work to rectify past mistakes and that a withdrawal failing to destroy the Islamic State, contain Iran, and protect Turkey would only result in a broader conflict and "chaos," according to Graham.

Graham said that the US Chief of Staff Joseph Dunford was working on a plan with Turkey to relocate YPG groups from Syrian-Turkish border and confiscate heavy weapons from them until Turkey is not threatened by the YPG.

Graham's statements came despite the US President Donald Trump's threats to "devastate" Turkey's economy if the latter attacked the Kurds in Syria. Earlier, the US National Security Advisor John R. Bolton said that Turkey needs to guarantee the protection of Kurds, who are US allies, as a new condition for the US forces' withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey insists on launching a military operation against the YPG, which is part of the PKK and listed as terrorist group. Last Friday, the Turkish Defense Hulusi Akar said that preparations for the operation in areas east of the Euphrates River are going as planned. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that they are completing preparations for the operations.

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Translation Nouha Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 19, 2019, 4:37:03 PM wire INTERNATIONALMILITARYPOLITICS USA
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