US Halts Drone Program Targeting Kurds for Turkey

Program indefinitely suspended over Turkey's invasion of Syrian Kurdistan

US officials have confirmed that they have indefinitely suspended a drone program that was operating in conjunction with Turkey, in which US surveillance drones were gathering intelligence against the banned Kurdish PKK on behalf of the Turkish government.

The US stopped the program “late last year,” and said it was a direct response to Turkey’s invasion of Syrian Kurdistan in October. The US opposed the Turkish invasion, at least to some extent, while Turkey argued that the Syrian Kurdish YPG, like the Turkish PKK, are “terrorists.”

This drone program was not very high profile for the US, which sought not to emphasize its anti-Kurd operations. The program has been in place since 2007, however, and Pentagon officials say that they’ve supported Turkey “as a matter of policy” against the PKK for decades.

Turkish officials confirmed that the operation had been halted, and one insisted that Turkey could get the same information from its own drones. They did warn this was not good for ties between the US and Turkey.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of