US MILITARY COVER & PROMOTION FOR PKK/PYD –
- July 2017 – A US general has said that Washington prompted the creation of the “brand” of the Syrian Democratic Forces as a cover for the Kurdish militia YPG.The SDF, led by the YPG, were created in autumn 2015 to fight the Islamic State in northern Syria. They have pushed ISIS back in the northeast and, defying Turkish objections, moved west of the Euphrates River as far as the city of Manbij in eastern Aleppo Province. They are now fighting inside the city of Raqqa, ISIS’s central position in Syria.
Ankara considers the YPG part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK, which has fought Turkish forces for more than 30 years and is designated a “terrorist organization” by the US. General Raymond Thomas, head of the US Special Operations Command, said on Friday: I was on the formative stage of the relationship with these guys. They formally called themselves the YPG, who the Turks would say equated to the PKK.
So we literally played back to them that you’ve got to change your brand. What do you want to call yourself besides the YPG? With about a day’s notice they declared that they were the Syrian Democratic Forces. Thomas explained that, through US envoy Brett McGurk, the rebranding helped the YPG and its political leaders of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) gain some credibility: They wanted a seat at the table, whether it’s Geneva or Astana, wherever the talks are happening about the future Syria, and because they had been branded as the PKK they could never get to the table. So while we paired with them militarily, McGurk was able to keep them in the conversation and allowed them the necessary legitimacy to be good partners for us.
Almost all of the US military assistance in Syria, through weapons and special forces, now goes to the SDF.Washington’s official line is that Arab units are doing most of the SDF’s fighting. www.mesop.de