Canadian soldiers might ‘take off’ Kurdish flag on their uniforms

Last week, Turkey expressed its anger over US special forces troops in Syria wearing the YPG patches on their uniforms

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Canada is “re-examining” to stop having its soldiers in northern Iraq wearing a Kurdish flag on their uniforms, a top commander told a local television station in an interview published Wednesday.

Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, commander of the special forces in Iraq, told CTV that Canada is rethinking of ending this custom following the same measure taken by US troops, who were recently ordered to stop wearing a Kurdish flag.

“We’ll re-examine that and we may well take them off too,” Rouleau said.

He added: “Whether we have them on or off, it’s not going to change anything about the level of commitment and closeness that we have with the people who we’re sent there to support.”

Canadian soldiers, who are currently in northern Iraq to train and advise the Kurds, started wearing a Kurdish flag in a sign of respect, according to CTV.

CTV explained that it is a tradition to wear the patch of a military partner but the secessionist Kurds do not have a nation state.

Last week, Turkey expressed its anger over US special forces troops in Syria wearing the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG) patches on their uniforms.

YPG is an armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which both Turkey and the US have labeled as a terrorist organization.

But the Kurds have earned a reputation of being hard-hitting at their ISIS enemy, making them a suitable ally for the US in its operation against the militant group.

“Our advice for the U.S. is that they should wear DAESH, al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda insignias when they go to other places in Syria and should wear Boko Haram insignias in Africa,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that US troops are wearing “the insignia of a terrorist organization, which is responsible for the last two terrorist attacks in Ankara.”

On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the alliance of the US-backed Syrian militias pressing an offensive against ISIS in northern Syria is predominantly composed of Syrian Arabs with Kurdish forces lending logistical support.

Erdogan said the forces included around 2,500 Syrian Arab fighters and only 450 members of the YPG.

Military sources have said Turkey is not taking a direct role in the offensive around Manbij, close to Syria’s border with Turkey, because it cannot support an operation involving the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as a terrorist group.

(With Reuters)