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Rudaw

Syria

YPG denies ‘ethnic cleansing’ accusations

By Yerevan Saeed 16/6/2015
Fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG). AFP file photo
Fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG). AFP file photo
WASHINGTON — A spokesman for the Kurdish militia known as the YPG, or People’s Protection Units, has strongly denied charges the group has carried out the “ethnic cleansing” of Arabs in lands recaptured from the Islamic State in Syria’s ethnically Kurdish area of Rojava.
 
"We say to residents of Tal Abyad, there is no reason for you to cross to another country [Turkey]. Our towns are open to you, you are our people and you will return to your towns, villages and properties,"  YPG spokesperson Redur Khalil  was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.
 
The charges were made on Monday in a statement released by  more than a dozen Syrian rebel groups that accused the Kurdish fighters of deliberately displacing thousands of Arabs and Turkmen from Tal Abyad and the western countryside of predominantly Kurdish Hasaka province.
 
Assisted by US airstrikes, the Kurdish YPG forces cleared large swathes of territory from ISIS this week, including the strategic border town of Tal Abyad, known to Kurds as Gire Spi, which served as a main supply route to the extremist-held city of Raqqa.
 
In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the US had heard the accusation but had no confirmation of any “ethnic cleansing” by the Kurdish forces.
 
“I certainly don’t have a battlefield update or a confirmation of the outcomes of specific military actions. We know there are reports about this, but I’d refer you to my colleagues at the Defense Department for anything that goes into more detail about the tactical arrangement of forces inside Syria,” said Rathke, during daily briefing session.
 
According to the AP, the accusation, which was not backed by evidence of ethnic or sectarian killings, threatened to escalate tensions between ethnic Arabs and Kurds as the Kurdish fighters conquer more territory in northern Syria.

“YPG forces … have implemented a new sectarian and ethnic cleansing campaign against Sunni Arabs and Turkmen under the cover of coalition airstrikes which have contributed bombardment, terrorizing civilians and forcing them to flee their villages,” the joint statement issued by rebel and militant groups said.

 
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the West of displacing Arabs and Turkmen during the aerial bombardments they have used to assist the Kurdish fighters.
 
"On our border, in Tal Abyad, the West, which is conducting aerial bombings against Arabs and Turkmen, is unfortunately positioning terrorist members of the PYD and PKK in their place," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the AP.
 
YPG is the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Rojava. The PKK has been in a bloody war with Ankara for the last three decades, seeking greater political and cultural rights for Turkey’s Kurdish population.
 
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by NATO, the European Union and the US.

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Samrand | 16/6/2015
How many of those "rebel and militant groups" that issued the statement, are linked to Turkey?
fermin | 16/6/2015
Desperate low grad propaganda rubbish launched by Turkey to discredit YPG. It was Erdogan who first accused the Americans of helping "terrorists" (meaning YPG) of "ethnically cleansing" Arab and Turkmen land by bombing their towns and villages (meaning ISIS). A week later all the Islamic and extremist groups ( dubed Syrian opposition) who Turkey supports released this rubish statement that YPG is "driving Arabs and Turkmen out" without any evidence, no investigation by anyone, pure alligations supposedly by ONE Turkmen living in one of these villages, if I had to guess he's either a member of ISIS, a sympathaser or was paid. Dozens of other Arabs and Turkmen civilians from the area are on record refuting the alligations, in fact they reported the exact opposite.
kemal | 16/6/2015
These same Syrian dogs who we all know are on Erdogans leash neither complained or even mentioned the ethnic cleansing of kurds in the exact same area 2 years ago. More than half the population of Gere Spi(Tal Abyad) was kurdish only two years ago!, they were all driven out by ISIS, their land and homes given to arabs and turkmen with the help of Turkey. 80 kurdish men and boys were massacred 400 kurdish woman and children kidnapped never to be heard of again.
danny | 16/6/2015
is this 15 members of rebel group are the fighting force or they been paid by other jelouse groups just to dicredit the good achievement made by the YPG..
?? | 16/6/2015
Why do you even report this, why do you spread this lie more? Pkk is listed as a terrorist organization? We know that, all kurds know that. You dont have to smash it in our face. Its like am reading a turkish or a westen magazine. Not an kurdish
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