Syrian Democratic Forces. Photo: SDF/Facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of northern Syria have issued a statement distancing themselves from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and affirming they are a Syrian force, tied to the Syrian land.
“We are a Kurdish, Arabic, Turkmen and Assyrian force from Syria under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces. We affirm that we are not part of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as claimed by some regional countries,” reads the statement released by the SDF on social media on Tuesday.
The SDF is a coalition of forces in northern Syria dominated by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) but also including brigades of local forces representing the diverse ethnicities living in the region.
Ankara alleges that the YPG is an offshoot of the PKK, a named terrorist organization in Turkey, Europe, and the US. Turkish leaders use the YPG, PKK, and PYD – the dominant Kurdish political party in northern Syria – interchangeably, including when referring to forces that are fighting under the SDF banner.
The SDF is receiving US-led coalition air support, training, and advice in the war against ISIS. The Syrian Arab Coalition within the SDF is also receiving arms. The US’ support for the SDF is a constant sore point in relations between Washington and Ankara.
The SDF is currently battling the extremist group in Raqqa Province with the ultimate aim of liberating the city of Raqqa.
“We are an integral part of the Syrian land and people and have so far dedicated sacrifices and spilled blood… to liberate our people from the terrorist organization ISIS. We declare we will continue to fight to defeat the barbaric ISIS and protect all the Syrian people. We will also continue to work with the global coalition against terrorism to eliminate this common threat to protect the civilized world and human values,” the SDF’s statement declared.
The SDF would like to build relations with neighbouring countries, including Turkey, the statement concludes.