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Ex-US commander claims ‘mistake’ in backing Syrian Kurds in bid to mend Turkey ties

24 Apr 2022 05:01

Islam Times - A former US military commander has reportedly admitted that his country made a mistake in sponsoring Syria-based Kurdish militants against the wishes of its NATO ally, Turkey, adding that a delegation of American lawmakers is now in the country to mend ties with Ankara.

"Our support for the PKK/YPG with weapons was a big mistake and harmed our relationship with Turkey,” said Former Army general and commander of US forces in Europe, Ben Hodges, during an interview with Turkish Haberturk TV channel as reported by the local media on Saturday, referring to Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units.

"I know that these words may surprise the Turks, but we must admit our mistake," added Hodges, who is currently the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

“Therefore, there is a delegation from Congress in Turkey now that is trying to restore our relationship with Turkey," he further noted.

For years, the US has supported Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG), using them to form a new force so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as a cover to press their illegal military objectives in northern Syria in the name of fighting the Daesh terrorist group.  

Turkey, however, criticized the US backing of the Kurdish militants, considering it the groundwork for a terrorist corridor on its borders.

Ankara and its Western allies have long classified the PKK -- which has led a revolt against Turkey since 1984, killing tens of thousands of people -- as a terrorist group.
Back in October 2019, Ankara-backed Takfiri terrorists were deployed to northeastern Syria after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.

The development comes just two weeks after US military forces and allied militants from the Kurdish-led SDF held a joint military exercise in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr near the Iraqi border, amid concerns in Baghdad over a possible release of Daesh terrorists from US-run prisons in Syria.

Local media outlets reported that dozens of American occupation soldiers and Kurdish militants participated in the joint drill, noting that the area where the training took place is close to the al-Omar oil field.

The reports added that US troops and their allies brought missile and armored units into play and used various types of ammunition during the exercise.

The war games came days after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that four American service members were being evaluated for minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries after two rounds of “indirect fire” hit support buildings at the Green Village in eastern Syria.

The US military admitted last week that explosions at their base in Green Village – near the al-Omar oil field where US forces are based in Dayr al-Zawr province -- resulted from an insider attack.

It is now believed the April 7 attack was carried out by the “deliberate placement of explosive charges” by one or more individuals at an ammunition holding area and shower facility on the base, AP reported on April 14 citing a statement issued earlier in the day by the so-called Operation Inherent Resolve command that oversees illegal US military operations in Syria and Iraq.

The statement further added that the incident remains under investigation, but did not offer further details.

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