ANKARA, November 24. /TASS/. Russia understands Turkey’s concern regarding Syria’s Democratic Union Party and Self-Defense Forces units considered by Ankara a branch of Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (outlawed in Turkey), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after returning from the Sochi summit.
"We have clearly expressed our stance on the Democratic Union Party and the Self-Defense Forces," the Haberturk TV channel quotes him as saying on Friday. [Russian President Vladimir Putin] shares our concern about the issue, but there is no similar attitude on the part of the United States and the international anti-terrorism coalition," he stressed.
According to Erdogan, he "can hold a telephone conversation with [US President Donald] Trump to ask him personally why arms continue to be supplied to the Kurds in Syria."
"Where and why do they still supply weapons? They used to say that there are militants of the Islamic State (IS, terror group, outlawed in Russia) there. However, this region has already been cleared of them," the Turkish president noted.
Over the past few months, Ankara has criticized Washington’s policy to supply weapons to Syrian Kurds from Self-Defense Forces and the Democratic Union Party calling these actions a mistake. Turkish officials believe that the fight against the Islamic State is only a pretext for arms supplies, while the weapons falling into the Kurds’ hands could later be used against Turkey. In light of this, in the summer Ankara began redeploying military equipment and troops to the border with Syria not ruling out a military operation against in Syria’s Afrin Canton.