Mar 05 2018

U.S. trains Syrian Kurds in Guam – Turkish pro-government newspaper

Turkish pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak and state broadcaster TRT said the United States is training Syrian Kurdish forces at the U.S. naval base on the Pacific island of Guam.  

Turkey says the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish party in Syria, is part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984. The United States recognises the PKK as a terrorist organisation but backs the military wing of the PYD as part of a force that has largely defeated Islamic State in Syria.

The PYD denies being part of the PKK, though both are part of the same Kurdish umbrella organisation and see jailed PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan as their ideological leader.

The U.S. Defense Department had relocated the 70 fighters to Guam to train as special forces, “following the recent defeats suffered by its terrorist allies”, Yeni Şafak said, a likely reference to Turkey’s ongoing offensive against the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin that began on Jan. 20.