Rudaw reports: US officials have been holding direct talks with leaders of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) about arming its fighters in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).
PYD spokesman Nawaf Xelil told the Arabic Asharq Al-Awsat daily that arms supplies for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the group’s military wing, were discussed at a meeting in Paris a week ago. He said that talks between the two sides continued in Duhok on Thursday.
“The subject of arming Syrian Kurds was discussed” the newspaper quoted Xelil as saying.
He added that at the Duhok meeting, a US delegation and PYD leaders had discussed Western and Arab support for the YPG.
“They spoke about sending military support to the Kurds in Kobane,” Xelil told Asharq Al-Awsat. He said the PYD and the US had started their talks two years ago but that Washington had kept the issue under the radar “in order not to upset Turkey.”
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed Thursday that US officials had met with the PYD, but did not say where or what was discussed. [Continue reading...]
The Associated Press reports: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country would not agree to any U.S. arms transfers to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic militants in Syria.
Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terrorist group.
The state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday quoted Erdogan as saying the fighters are “equal to the PKK” and that Turkey “would not say ‘yes’ to such a thing.”