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Erdogan Says US Funding of Syrian YPG Militia to Impact Turkey’s Decisions
Erdogan Says US Funding of Syrian YPG Militia to Impact Turkey’s Decisions

Erdogan Says US Funding of Syrian YPG Militia to Impact Turkey’s Decisions

Erdogan Says US Funding of Syrian YPG Militia to Impact Turkey’s Decisions

A decision by the United States to continue to fund the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia will affect Turkey’s future moves, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a visit this week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
US officials have said that Tillerson expects to have difficult conversations when he visits Turkey on Thursday and Friday, given that the NATO allies have starkly diverging interests in Syria, Reuters reported.
Turkey has been enraged by US support for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protections Units (YPG) militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Washington has backed the YPG in the fight against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.
“Our ally’s decision to give financial support to the YPG... will surely affect the decisions we will take,” Erdogan said in a speech to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament.
His comments followed the release of the US Department of Defence’s 2019 budget, which includes requests for funds to train and equip local forces in the fight against IS in Syria.
The Pentagon requested $300 million for Syrian “train and equip activities” and $250 million for border security requirements, according to a copy of the budget. While it did not specify how much of this, if any, was earmarked for YPG-led forces, Turkish media interpreted that to mean that the Pentagon had allocated $550 million to the YPG in 2019.
Turkey last month launched an incursion into Syria, which it calls “Operation Olive Branch” to sweep the YPG from its southern border. It has also threatened to press on to the Syrian town of Manbij, under the control of a YPG-led force, and has warned American troops stationed there not to get in the way.

 

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