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British FM Acknowledges Dealing With YPG Northern Syria

Agencies (Qasioun) – The British Foreign and Commonwealth office said on Saturday that U.K. Government has "limited contact" with the Kurdish People's Defense Units YPG militant group in Syria.

 

The FCO said it will use this link to urge the group to "distance themselves from the PKK and its terrorist activity"

 

The FCO’s remarks came in response to a February report -- titled Kurdish aspirations and the interests of the UK -- by the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

 

“The U.K. Government has limited contact with the PYD/YPG, and none at all with the PKK. In interactions with the PYD/YPG, we raise our concerns about any links they may have with the PKK and urge them to distance themselves from the PKK and its terrorist activity,” the FCO said.

 

The committee report published in February 2018 had urged the British government to get a "clear view" of the links between the various terrorist organizations operating in Syria.

 

The evidence to an inquiry, which was collected over a period of three months by the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested the YPG “was linked to the PKK”, Tom Tugendhat, the committee’s chairman, had said.

 

The FCO “should have a clear view of its own” about the connection between the terrorist organizations in Syria, the report had said.

 

The FCO said the U.K. government continued to “closely follow developments in Afrin, and wider north-western Syria.”

 

Underlining the recognition of “Turkey’s legitimate interest in the security of its borders,” the FCO repeated its call for de-escalation and the protection of civilians in the region.

 

It also pointed out that “the U.K. understands Turkey’s position regarding the PYD/YPG and the PKK,” and “Turkey has a legitimate need to protect its own security.”

 

The FCO response said the U.K. has “provided military support, in the form of airstrikes,” to the SDF in the campaign to remove the terrorist organization Daesh from Eastern Syria but “we have not provided any weapons, funds or equipment in direct support of either the SDF or the YPG as an entity.”

 

Turkey has numerously warned against international actors cooperating with groups such as PYD/PKK, YPG/PKK, and SDF/PKK, as they are just the PKK under different names.

 

“We are aware of ideological and organizational links between the PKK and PYD. The PKK and PYD/YPG share similar ideological goals and inspirations” [and …they] “are both influenced by” the ideas of the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan, the FCO said.

 

“We have concerns about governance in PYD areas, in particular its intolerance of political opposition and the lack of inclusivity in its governance structures,” it said.

 

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the U.S. and EU. In its terror campaign against Turkey, which has lasted for more than three decades, over 40,000 people have been killed, including women and children.

 

Source: Anadolu Agency