US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said on Tuesday that all Syrians, including the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) group, must take part in a process to bring peace to the country.
Speaking during a daily press briefing on Tuesday, Toner said that the PYD’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is a force on the ground, is a representative group, and that their voice will need to be heard in any kind of long-term solution to the situation in Syria.
“And it’s in that spirit that we say that if there’s going to be… a political process that leads to a political transition, a more democratic one, that’s going to have to be accepted by all of the Syrian people,” he said.
When asked about whether the US provides arms support to the PYD and YPG, Toner said the US provides some tactical support to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that is focused on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Underlining that the US is aware of the sensitivity of the Turkish government regarding the PYD and YPG for their links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Toner said the US is arming the SDF’s Arab elements but providing tactical support to the Kurdish groups in the SDF, which mainly consists of the YPG militia.
On Dec. 27 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had accused the US-led coalition forces of supporting terrorist organizations ISIL, PYD and the 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.
While the US Embassy in Ankara on Dec. 28 slammed reports in the Turkish media that accuse the US of supporting ISIL and other terrorist groups, Toner called Erdoğan’s accusations “ludicrous.”
Turkey considers the YPG and PYD in northern Syria to be linked to the terrorist PKK and deems both groups terrorist organizations.