The US on Tuesday rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remark that the US-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL supports terrorist organizations in Syria including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying it was “ludicrous.”
“It’s ludicrous, to be honest. No basis for truth, as you can all imagine. I don’t think anyone could look at our actions on the ground leading the coalition in northern Syria, in Iraq, and say anything other than that we’re 100 percent behind the defeat, destruction of Daesh [ISIL],” said Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner during the daily press briefing at the Department of State on Tuesday.
“In fact we’re working constructively with Turkey to lead those efforts, and Turkey is playing a part. We have constant dialogue and discussion with Turkey about how we can better leverage both our efforts.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Erdoğan accused the US-led coalition forces of supporting terrorist organizations ISIL, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Defense Units (YPG).
“They were accusing us of supporting Daesh [ISIL]. Now they have all disappeared. To the contrary, they give support to terrorist organizations, including Daesh, the PYD, the YPG. All are explicit. We have registered documents of everything with photographs and videos,” said Erdoğan during a joint press conference with Guinea’s President Alpha Cond in Ankara.
Criticizing the coalition forces for failing to keep promises they made about helping Turkey fight against ISIL in Syria, Erdoğan said: “Either they support us or they don’t, but we will continue on our path decisively. We will not deviate from that path.”
“Either way, we will fulfill our duty. We have given martyrs, and that hurt us, but we will not be back again.”
With the death of two more soldiers injured in an attack on Wednesday carried out by ISIL in Syria’s al-Bab region, the number of Turkish soldiers killed during Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August, has increased to 40.