The U.S. used the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG) as mercenaries during the Syrian conflict, according to Sefin Dizayi, head of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Foreign Affairs Department.
Speaking at a panel organized by the Washington Institute on Wednesday, Dizayi said, “The YPG has been used like mercenaries against a specific enemy and were abandoned after its duty was completed.” He added that the U.S. disregarded the future and fate of the civilians in the region, which has become a complete mess following the YPG.
He also claimed that a U.S. official had told him that they would abandon the YPG once their duty was done.
Dizayi said the U.S. saw the YPG as a potential military power, thus supported them against Daesh. He noted that the terrorist group lost 11,000 members in the process.
The U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG under the pretext of fighting Daesh, despite security concerns from its NATO ally, Turkey.
The KRG official also acknowledged Turkey’s concern about YPG presence near the border, saying that the PKK’s direct involvement as an actor in Syria created a threat for Turkey, which shares a 910-kilometer border with the country.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria, targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the YPG, to secure its borders and prevent the establishment of a terror corridor.
Referring to Washington’s warnings of sanctions on Turkey, Dizayi said this would also affect the oil trade with the KRG and that the situation of the KRG should be considered.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Hundreds of thousands of people have since been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to U.N. figures.