International Community Treads Fine Diplomatic Line on Turkey-YPG Clashes

By Majeed Gly –  RUDAW – 2016-09-04 – The United States, United Kingdom, and anti-ISIS coalition members condemned Turkish army attacks on the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) and stated that their support of Turkey’s incursion in Syria remains conditional. Russia and Damascus have remained silent on the events.Turkey has the right to defend itself, said the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations. “The UK’s position is that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey, both in the fight against terrorism and the frontline in Syria. Turkey has the right to defend itself, and we’re working very closely with Turkey,” said Matthew Rycroft. But for both the UK and the US, their support for Turkey is conditional — they back their NATO ally only in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS).

“What we’re supporting, in terms of Turkey’s intervention in Syria, is efforts to go after Daesh [ISIS]. And so, yes, are we supportive of that purpose and that effort? Absolutely we are,” John Kirby, State Department spokesperson, said in a press conference.However, “These clashes over the last few days were not coordinated with us and we aren’t supporting them in anyway,” he added, referring to clashes between the Turkish army and the YPG.

France also holds the same stance as the UK and US.Neither the Russian nor Syrian government has publicly taken a stance on the Turkish attacks on YPG fighters.The Syrian ambassador to UN has submitted a letter to UN Secretary General that Rudaw has seen a copy of. In the communication, the ambassador officially expressed his country’s concern about Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s soil.Russia has kept its comments relatively neutral as they are allied with both Damascus and Ankara, and have had friendly relations with the Kurds in Syria. Russia’s ambassador to the UN told Rudaw that Moscow did not give Turkey the greenlight to enter Syria.Russia’s and Syria’s primary criticism of Turkey’s incursion is that Ankara did not get approval from the Syrian government to enter Syrian territory.Russia diplomatically has not taken any steps against Turkey and did not raise the subject of the Turkish operation in the Security Council.The Security Council will likely address recent developments in Syria, especially Turkey’s military intervention, but not for several weeks, the president of the council confirmed.

“There has been no specific discussion about recent developments in Syria, on the battlefields, so to speak,” said Gerard Bohemend. “As to whether it will get raised, I expect it will. But it may not happen until the meeting on the 21st,” of September.