Special envoy says US does not consider YPG and PKK to be the same entity

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WASHINGTON, USA - JUNE 14: James Jeffrey, former US Ambassador to Turkey speaks during "The Manbij Agreement: The Way Forward in US-Turkey Relations" panel organised by Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) Foundation at Washington D.C. on June 14, 2018 in Washington, United States. Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency

Ambassador James Jeffrey, the US special representative for Syria engagement, has stated that the United States does not see the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the same entity, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday.

Jeffrey was speaking with a group of journalists via telephone conference on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the US offering rewards for three senior PKK members on Tuesday, Jeffrey said they had informed Turkey about the search for the three PKK members.

“For us, the PKK is a terrorist organization. We are not of the same opinion on the YPG. We ensure that the YPG operates as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] in a way that does not pose a threat to Turkey,” Jeffrey said.

At the beginning of the month Turkish and US forces launched joint patrols as part of the “Manbij Roadmap” to ensure the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij in northern Syria.

Pentagon spokesperson Col. Robert Manning during one of his daily press briefings had responded to questions about the joint patrols, claiming that they are aimed at ensuring that Turkey focuses on defeating ISIL.

Manning also mentioned irregular joint patrols with the SDF.

“All sides in Syria need to focus on defeating ISIL. These patrols aim to allow us, our SDF partners and Turkey to secure the region.”

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