‘It will be too late’ when US realizes mistake, says Kilic
WASHINGTON — U.S. support for the PYD is “a big strategic mistake,” Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S. told the Washington Post on Wednesday.
Serdar Kilic said the U.S. would realize its “mistake” sooner or later but by then “it will be too late”, adding that the Obama administration places its NATO ally Turkey and the terrorist PKK’s Syrian affiliate PYD “on an equal footing — an ally and a terrorist organization”.
There has been “tremendous disappointment” by Turkish authorities and its public about recent statements coming from the U.S, Kilic said, referring to remarks by the State Department that urged Turkey and the YPG, the armed wing of PYD, to focus on a “common threat” in northern Syria – namely Daesh.
At the same time, the U.S. urged the YPG “not to take advantage of a confused situation” in northern Syria.
“Statements by the U.S. authorities have been misleading the PYD and other elements, who think they have a strong ally in the United States and can do what they want in terms of achieving their objectives,” he said.
Turkey has begun to despair of America’s willingness to show “more leadership, more muscle” in Syria, especially as the Russian bombing continues, Killic said, adding that the U.S. did not respond “decisively” when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, or when the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against its civilians the same year.
“We are losing,” he said referring to the situation in Syria.
Last week, the YPG, with Russian air cover, began a massive offensive aimed at capturing opposition-held areas of the Aleppo countryside.
In recent days, YPG managed to seize control of several villages and a military airport in the area.
On Monday, Russian warplanes targeted two schools and a hospital in Azaz — just six kilometers (four miles) from the Turkish border; another hospital in Idlib managed by Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders was also hit that left more than 30 people, including women and children dead.
The Turkish military has been shelling PYD and PKK positions in northern Syria intermittently for four consecutive days in retaliation to artillery fire from PYD forces based around Azaz, located in Aleppo’s northern countryside.
The PKK has targeted Turkish security forces and civilians since 1984.
The recent row between Turkey and the U.S. — longtime NATO allies — has been centered on Washington’s objection to describe the PYD as a terrorist group, though it considers the PKK as such.
Turkey designates both groups as terrorist organizations.
Recently, Syria’s UN envoy Bashar Ja’afari said that PYD enjoyed the support of not only the U.S. but also the Assad regime.