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U.S. says not supporting PKK/PYD elements in Syria's Afrin

U.S. SAYS NOT SUPPORTING PKK/PYD ELEMENTS IN SYRIAS AFRIN

The spokesman of the United States-led coalition against Daesh Col. Ryan Dillon said Tuesday that Syria's northern Afrin region was not a part of the U.S.' area of operations against the Daesh terror group and that it does not support the People's Protection Units (YPG) elements in the area.

The mission of the U.S.-led international coalition is to defeat Daesh in designated areas of Iraq and Syria, which does not include the northern Syrian area of Afrin, according to the coalition spokesperson.

"The Coalition's mission has not changed: to defeat ISIS [Daesh] in designated areas of Iraq and Syria and set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability," Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), said in a written statement sent to Anadolu Agency.

His statement came in a response to Anadolu Agency's question as to whether the U.S. or the coalition would support Afrin, where a Turkish operation is being seen as imminent, based on statements by Turkish leaders.

"We are not operating in Afrin. We are supporting our partners in defeating remaining ISIS [Daesh] pockets along the Middle Euphrates River Valley, specifically in areas north of Abu Kamal, on the eastern side of the Euphrates River," Dillon added.

Dillon spurred controversy on Sunday by announcing that the coalition will establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the SDF in Syria -- a U.S.-backed group that is largely controlled and manned by the PYD/PKK terrorist group, an offshoot of the terrorist PKK.

Turkey slammed the announcement, saying that PYD/PKK poses a threat to Turkey's national security and that it would take all necessary measures.

There are currently 8,000-10,000 terrorists in Aleppo's Afrin region -- a region bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces -- which has been besieged by PYD/PKK terrorists.

After Turkey pointed out that the region was a nest for terrorists, the terrorists have taken to hiding out in shelters and pits in residential areas of Afrin.

Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PYD/PKK, while Washington has brushed off its status as a PKK offshoot, calling it a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 security forces and civilians, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.

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