A jet fighter takes off from the aircraft carrier USS George Bush in the Gulf. US fighters have been bombing ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. Photo: AFP.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – US officials have been holding direct talks with leaders of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) about arming its fighters in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).
PYD spokesman Nawaf Xelil told the Arabic Asharq Al-Awsat daily that arms supplies for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the group’s military wing, were discussed at a meeting in Paris a week ago. He said that talks between the two sides continued in Duhok on Thursday.
“the subject of arming Syrian Kurds was discussed” the newspaper quoted Xelil as saying.
He added that at the Duhok meeting, a US delegation and PYD leaders had discussed Western and Arab support for the YPG.
“They spoke about sending military support to the Kurds in Kobane,” Xelil told Asharq Al-Awsat. He said the PYD and the US had started their talks two years ago but that Washington had kept the issue under the radar “in order not to upset Turkey.”
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed Thursday that US officials had met with the PYD, but did not say where or what was discussed.
Meanwhile, Muslim arrived in the Kurdistan Region last week, where he discussed with President Massoud Barzani the situation in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the ongoing war in Kobane between YPG fighters and ISIS militants.
Ibrahim Biro, secretary-general of the Union Kurdish Party in Syria told Rudaw last week that his and other Kurdish groups had met with the US ambassador in Ankara about potential US and international support for the Kurds in Rojava.
“They (US) mean to bring together the Syrian opposition, but they also know that Syrian Kurdistan is different,” said Biro. “So they said that in order to receive support, the Kurdish groups have to work together.”
At a wide-ranging meeting between Syrian Kurdish groups is ongoing in Duhok, the groups are discussing the possible formation of a joint force for the defense of Kurdish areas.