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Turkey Wants Unconditional US Support in Fight Against YPG

  • VOA News

Turkish civil servants hold a banner that reads "We condemn terrorism" as they lay carnations at the site of Wednesday's explosion that killed 28 people in Ankara, Feb. 20, 2016.

Turkish civil servants hold a banner that reads "We condemn terrorism" as they lay carnations at the site of Wednesday's explosion that killed 28 people in Ankara, Feb. 20, 2016.

Turkey's prime minister on Saturday called on the United States to give his government unconditional support in the fight against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia “without ifs and buts.”

Speaking to reporters in Ankara after a five-hour meeting with security officials, Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey was certain that the YPG, which the United States supports in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, was involved Wednesday's bomb attack in Ankara that killed 28 people.

A Kurdish militant group based in Turkey known as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) claimed responsibility for the Ankara attack in a statement Friday. Davutoglu rejected that as a false claim; he said TAK was trying to shield YPG’s “international legitimacy” from any links to the bombing, which was aimed at military units in the Turkish capital.

The YPG, or People's Protection Units, is the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey claims they are terrorists, but the United States does not agree. U.S. officials said they could neither confirm nor deny Ankara's charge that the militia was behind the bombing.

President Barack Obama met by telephone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for 80 minutes on Friday, sharing his concerns about the Syrian conflict and promising his support. Separately, however, a State Department spokesman told reporters that the U.S. continued to support groups in Syria that have been fighting against Islamic State extremists — a likely reference to the YPG.

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