U.S. supports Syrian Kurdish forces ‘more than expected’: Erdogan

SDF fighters stand atop a roof next to their unfurled flag at a position in the village of Baghouz in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border on March 24, 2019. (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The United States is supporting Kurdish forces in Syria “much more than expected”, Daily Sabah cited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying.

“We have not experienced such a situation with previous U.S. leaders,” Erdogan told reporters on Friday, according to Daily Sabah.

“Let alone fighting terrorist organizations, the U.S. gives them loads of equipment,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the Syrian Kurdish forces.

Turkey views the People’s Protections Units (YPG) as a “terrorist group” linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), waging an insurgency on Turkish soil.

Since 2016, Turkey has seized swathes of northern Syria in four cross-border offensives to drive back Islamic State (ISIS) and the YPG.

It has been infuriated by the U.S. support for the militia, repeatedly urging its NATO ally to halt its relations with the group.

In an offensive in 2019, with the support of Syrian rebels, Turkey seized a 120 km (75 mile) stretch of border territory in northeast Syria from the YPG.

That incursion was widely condemned by Ankara’s Western allies as the YPG was the main component of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that helped the United States defeat ISIS.

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