Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the United States over American troops wearing insignia of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) during an operation in Syria.
In a Saturday speech in the mainly-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, Erdogan “condemned” Washington as not being “honest.”
“Those who are our friends, those who are with us in NATO, should not and cannot send their soldiers to Syria with the sign of the YPG,” said Erdogan.
The president also said, “Saying solely 'We are against terrorism' does not mean standing against terrorism.”
On Wednesday, several photos appeared in media apparently showing US soldiers wearing the emblem of YPG on their uniforms during an operation to liberate the militant-held Syrian city of Raqqah.
US Colonel Steve Warren said on Friday that American troops were not authorized to wear the insignia of YPG, which is fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorists, saying they had been ordered to remove them.
“Wearing the YPG patches was unauthorized and it was inappropriate - and corrective action has been taken,” he said.
The YPG has been engaged in battle with Daesh for months, shutting down their supply routes from Turkey into Syria near Raqqah, which is the de facto capital of the terrorist group.
Turkey accuses the YPG of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been engaged in a three-decade fight for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast.
Ankara and Washington both regard the PKK as a terrorist organization. The United States does not consider the YPG to be a terrorist group.
Since late September 2014, the US along with some of its allies has been conducting airstrikes purportedly against Daesh extremists inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the United Nations.
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has also displaced over half of the Arab country’s pre-war population of about 23 million.
Ankara has widely been blamed for the surge in the conflict in Syria as it has been supporting anti-Damascus militants with funds, training and weapons.