US intelligence chief calls YPG 'PKK's Syrian militia'

Recognizing YPG as armed Syrian branch of terrorist PKK, US' Dan Coats warns group will seek autonomy in the region

By Hakan Copur

WASHINGTON (AA) - At odds with Pentagon policy -- but close to Turkish assessments -- the top U.S. intelligence official on Wednesday called the YPG the Syrian militia force of the terrorist PKK.

In a Worldwide Threat Assessment Report submitted to the U.S. Congress, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats called the YPG “the Syrian militia” of the terrorist PKK, warning that it will probably “seek some form of autonomy but will face resistance from Russia, Iran, and Turkey.”

The U.S. has worked with the PYD/YPG/PKK as a “reliable ally” in the fight against Daesh, including supplying them weapons, against strong Turkish objections that the group is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK, and that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.

The PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., EU, and Turkey -- has taken some 40,000 lives in its three-decade terror campaign against Turkey.

The statement by Coats acknowledging that the U.S. is supporting a terrorist militia follows similar admissions by the U.S. government.

The Syria section of the World Factbook on the CIA website, for instance, lists “Terrorist groups - foreign based” working in the country. In that listing, it says that Salih Muslim Muhammad leads the PYD, the PKK’s “Syrian wing.”

In addition, during a press briefing last week, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert directly described the YPG in northwestern Syria as "the PKK.”

Turkey has said the U.S. ending its support for the terrorist PYD/YPG/PKK is a key step to restoring trust in Turkish-American relations.

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