Turkey attacks US for fighting alongside Syrian-Kurdish militia

Turkey attacks US for fighting alongside Syrian-Kurdish militia
2 min read
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has described US backing for a Syrian-Kurdish militia outfit as 'hypocritical', after US special forces were spotted embedded with YPG units.
US special forces have been spotted fighting with YPG units in eastern Syria [AFP]

Turkey has accused the US of 'hypocrisy' after armed American soldiers were spotted embedded with Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Photos emerged on Thursday showing men identified as US special forces, fighting alongside Kurdish units during its offensive in Raqqa province, eastern Syria, against the Islamic State group.

The armed men are seen dressed in army fatigues which display the US flag and insignia of Kurdish-Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was "unacceptable" that US troops had been seen wearing insignia of the YPG, which Ankara regards as a terror group.

"We advise them (US troops) to wear badges of [IS] or al-Nusra [Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate] when they go to other parts of Syria and badges of Boko Haram when they go to Africa," said Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"If they don't see these (groups) as the same as the YPG, then this is double standards, hypocrisy."

Ankara has accused the group of being the Syrian arm of the banned left-wing militant outfit the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 30 year war against Turkey.

The US is supporting the YPG, which is leading the fight against IS in Syria with arms and advisers, angering Ankara.

Turkey is embroiled in a war with the PKK in the east of the country while Turkish towns have been hit by Kurdish bombers. Meanwhile, the country has come under attack from IS militants based across the border in Syria.

"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 organisation," Cavusoglu added.

Turkey and the US have been close military and political allies, and are leading partners in NATO.

However, the rise of IS and the YPS' efforts in fighting the group - along with the increasingly authoritarian nature of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan - has seen Washington drift closer to the Kurdish factions.