Ankara- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced on Tuesday that Ankara expects the new U.S. administration headed by President-elect Donald Trump to stop providing the Kurdish Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) with weapons, criticizing the Barack Obama administration, which the prime minister said was responsible for such actions.
Speaking at a Justice and Development (AK) Party parliamentary group meeting Tuesday, Yildirim said: “The world talks about ISIS but it does not fight it. It is only Turkey that fights against ISIS. The United States and others do nothing. They just supply the (Democratic Union Party) PYD with weapons.”
Yildirim said Turkey does not hold the new administration responsible for this situation, because it was the achievement of the Obama administration, adding the U.S. should not accept that a “terrorist organization” overshadows the strategic partnership between Washington and Ankara.
The fact that the U.S. regards the PYD and YPG as partners in the fight against ISIS creates a dispute with Ankara, which designates the PYD and its military wing, the YPG as terror organizations due to their ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey and Russia have already placed the YPG outside the list of participants in the expected Astana talks on Syria. Those talks are threatened after about 10 Syrian opposition groups announced they were suspending talks regarding the planned peace negotiations this month in the Kazakh capital Astana, due to ceasefire “violations” by the Assad regime.
Turkish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ankara was continuing its contacts with the Syrian opposition and several other parties in an attempt to secure the ceasefire and prevent any violations, hoping to save the deal it reached on Syria, supported by the U.N. Security Council.
The sources said that efforts were exerted to secure the date plan for the Astana talks as previously announced. They said the talks could be postponed for a few days because Ankara wishes to include the American side.
As part of the Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began late August, the Turkish Army announced on Tuesday that Turkish and Russian warplanes had destroyed several ISIS targets, killing 18 members of the terrorist group and injuring 37 others during airstrikes on the city of al-Bab north of Syria.
Faheem Issa, who commands the Sultan Murad brigade, a Syrian Turkmen unit, told Anadolu news agency that the Free Syrian Army would launch “soon” an immense operation on al-Bab city to liberate it from the ISIS terrorist group.
The commander said that after liberating al-Bab, FSA forces will move to the Kurdish-controlled city of Manbij to push Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates, as repeatedly stressed by Turkey.