US Envoy: Unacceptable for Turkey to Attack Syrian Kurds

Says attacks on YPG endanger US troops in Syria

James Jeffrey, the US special envoy for the war in Syria, told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East on Thursday that he, and the administration, consider Turkish military attacks on the Syrian Kurdish YPG to be “unacceptable.”

This is a major shift in US policy, as throughout the Syrian War, the US has closely allied with the YPG, but has also generally looked the other way when Turkey has decided to attack the Kurds or condemn them as terrorists.

This is a fairly sudden change, too. It was only two weeks ago that Jeffrey himself had confirmed the YPG to be an “offshoot” of the Turkey-based PKK, which both the US and Turkey consider a terrorist organization. Jeffrey did, however, say that the YPG remains “indispensable” for the US.

There has been no sign of a reaction to the change from the Turkish side. The Erdogan government has long insisted they must wipe out the YPG, and consider the US to be backing terrorists in cooperating with the group. This has long been a source of tension between the US and Turkey,and that is likely to grow going forward.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.