Kurds could ‘lose US support if they don’t retreat,’ says Biden

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (R) meets with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 24, 2016. (Reuters)

US Vice President Joe Biden called on Syrian Kurdish forces to “move back across the Euphrates River,” at a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara on Wednesday, warning them they will lose US support if they don’t.

“They cannot - will not - under any circumstance get American support if they do not keep that commitment,” said Biden.

Biden indirectly expressed support for the Turkish operation launched Wednesday to clear ISIS militants from the town of Jarablus and deter Kurds from further expanding in northern Syria.

Meanwhile, Yildirim said that Turkey would not accept the creation of a new Kurdish entity inside Syria and its territorial integrity must be maintained. The premier added that a joint solution must be found to end the crisis in war-torn country.

Yildirim, meanwhile, vowed that the Turkish operation in Syria will go on until Kurdish rebels move east of the Euphrates.

He said in an interview broadcast live on news channel HaberTurk that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government could not be ignored if a political solution to Syria’s multi-sided conflict was to be found.

President Tayyip Erdogan said the operation was targeting both ISIS militants and the YPG, whose gains in northern Syria have alarmed Turkey. Ankara views the YPG as an extension of Kurdish militants fighting an insurgency on its own soil, putting it at odds with the United States, which sees the group as an ally in the fight against ISIS.

Also on the agenda was the failed July 15 coup in Turkey and the Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of masterminding the putsch and wants to see extradited.

Yildirim said Turkey and the United States should never allow incidents to harm their relations, but said his government expected the legal process for the extradition of Gulen to be conducted without delay.

Biden said he also understood the “intense feeling” in Turkey over the cleric, and also expressed his guilt for not coming to the country sooner after the coup.

“We are cooperating with the Turkish authorities,” said Biden, though he added that legal standards must be met.

The US vice president assured Turkey that the United States had “no intention of protecting a person who harms our ally.”

After talks with Biden, Erdogan said that Turkey’s demands for the extradition of Gulen should not be disregarded and bilateral agreements between Ankara and Washington require his detention.

(With AFP, Reuters)

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Thursday, 25 August 2016 KSA 23:31 - GMT 20:31
Top