Turkey Slams US 'Hypocrisy' for Backing Kurdish Militia in Syria
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkey on Friday accused the United States of hypocrisy after US commandos in Syria were pictured supporting a major ground offensive led by a Kurdish militia branded a terror group by Ankara.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was "unacceptable" that US troops had been seen in images taken by an AFP photographer wearing insignia of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara regards the YPG as a terror group, accusing it of carrying out attacks inside Turkey and being the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state for more than three decades.
However Washington sees the YPG as one of the most effective fighting forces against Daesh (ISIL) militants inside Syria.
The issue has caused tensions between the two NATO allies for months.
"We advise them (US troops) to wear badges of Daesh (ISIL) or (Al-Qaeda affiliate) Al-Nusra when they go to other parts of Syria and badges of Boko Haram when they go to Africa," Cavusoglu said with angry sarcasm, AFP reported.
"If they don't see these (groups) as the same as the YPG, then this is double standards, hypocrisy," he said at a news conference at a meeting on Least Developed Countries in the southern resort of Antalya.
The AFP photographer saw US forces on the ground in northern Syria helping the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a major offensive against Daesh in its stronghold of Raqa province.
Several US commandos were also photographed wearing the military insignia of the YPG, which make up the bulk of the SDF.
"It is unacceptable for the soldiers of the United States -- our ally which is very assertive in the fight against terror -- to use or wear the badges of a terror organization," Cavusoglu said.