The long-standing Turkish media and diplomatic campaign to convince the US to accept that it’s supporting a local branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Syria has led to some results.
On November 15, US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey officially admitted that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and their political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are just a “Syrian offshot” of the PKK.
“That local partner since 2014 has been the PYD, which is the Syrian offshoot of PKK, but we have not designated it as a terrorist organization which we did with the PKK,” Jeffrey said at a panel at the Defense One Summit, which brings top military, foreign policy and intelligence leaders to Washington to discuss US military diplomatic efforts around the world. “The mission of trying to bring peace to Syria, if you turn your back, even on the Turks, or on our allies in the northeast which is the SDF, which is an evolution of the PYD, which in its own sense, is an offshoot of the PKK.“
— Country of Kurds (@DefenceUnits) 19 October 2017
The YPG and the PYD are the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which receive constant military, diplomatic and financial support from the US-led coalition, particularly the US. Despite clear links of the YPG/PYD to the PKK, which wages a long war against the Ankara government, Washington has repeatedly denied that its actions impact somehow the Turkish security.
As the Syrian conflict slowly enters its “post-ISIS” stage, the “Kurdish partners” of the US in northern Syria has become less important for the Washington establishment. So, it seems that the US has decided to admit Turkish security councerns thus endangering the future of the YPG/PYD in northern Syria.
Turkey has already carried out a large-scale military operation agains the YPG in the Afrin region in western Syria. The rest of the group’s area in northeastern Syria will be in serious danger if one day Washington stops defenind its “local partners”.