ERBIL, Kurdistan (Rudaw) — The United States will not allow Turkey to attack Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (PYD) forces in northern Syria, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner told RudawTuesday.
The statement came after Feridun H. Sinirlioglu, an undersecretary in the Turkish foreign ministry, said earlier Tuesday that the US and Turkey had reached an agreement to create a buffer zone along the Turkey-Syria border under the supervision of US-led coalition air forces.
Sinirlioglu added that according to the deal, if the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) or the Islamic State enter this zone, they will be targeted by both US-led coalition forces and Turkish air forces.
But according to Toner, based on the agreement with Turkish authorities, PYD forces should not be attacked in the proposed buffer zone. He emphasized that the US would not allow Turkey to attack the PYD in Syria. The PYD is an offshoot of the PKK, and its armed wing the Peoples Protection Units (YPG) have cooperated with the US and coalition air forces in battling ISIS in Syria.
In late July both the US and Turkey accepted an outline for a buffer zone along the Turkey-Syria border. According to the terms of the deal, such a zone would raise the scope and pace of the US-led air war against ISIS.
Turkish authorities announced that the anti-Bashar al-Assad Free Syrian Army would take control of the buffer zone in order to protect internally displaced persons in the north of Syria.
The zone will stretch about 98 kilometers (61 miles) near the Turkey-Syria border and go 45 kilometers (28 miles) into Syrian territory. It will include the town of Jarabulus in the province of Aleppo.