US Will Continue to Back Kurdish Group Opposed by Turkey: Votel
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US Will Continue to Back Kurdish Group Opposed by Turkey: Votel | Aug 31, 2016 | 




The U.S. will continue to support Kurdish Syrian militia that Turkey has pledged to wipe out in its offensive into Syria, Army Gen. Joseph Votel said Tuesday.

"They have lived up to their commitment to us" to move east of the Euphrates River to meet one of Ankara's demands, said Votel, head of U.S. Central Command and the top U.S. commander in the Mideast, referring to the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG.

The YPG is the military wing of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, which Turkey calls a terrorist organization. It's also considered to be by far the most effective rebel group operating in Syria against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

Turkey appeared to dispute Votel's statement that the YPG had moved east of the Syrian border town of Jarablus, which Turkish tanks and mechanized infantry took against little resistance in its Aug. 24 offensive into Syria.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said U.S. Ambassador John Bass was summoned to the ministry to hear Turkey's demands that the YPG pull back east of the Euphrates immediately.
Bilgic pointedly said it was "unacceptable" the YPG had failed to live up to U.S. assurances on the withdrawal. The U.S. earlier had said Turkey's actions after taking Jarablus were "unacceptable."
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