By Safvan Allahverdi
WASHINGTON (AA) - Waiving its newly announced name, "Border Protection Force", the Pentagon late Wednesday claimed that PKK/PYD-led SDF force is not a new "army" or conventional "border guard" force.
"The U.S. continues to train local security forces in Syria. The training is designed to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said in a stunning written statement sent to Anadolu Agency as Turkey readies to launch an operation against Syria's Afrin to clear the area of terrorists.
"It is also essential so that ISIS [Daesh] cannot reemerge in liberated and ungoverned areas. This is not a new "army" or conventional "border guard" force."
Turkey has long protested against U.S. support for the PYD/PKK, while Washington has brushed off its status as a PKK offshoot, calling it a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, leading to the deaths of more than 40,000 security forces and civilians, including more than 1,200 since July 2015 alone.
Pahon asserted that the training and existing forces are consistent with campaign objectives to ensure an enduring defeat of Daesh, facilitate stabilization efforts, and create the conditions that support the UN-led Geneva process.
Stating that fight against Daesh in Syria is not over, he claimed PKK/PYD-led SDF forces are focused to prevent Daesh fighters from fleeing Syria and improve local security in liberated areas.
"These forces will protect the local population and help prevent ISIS from launching new attacks against the U.S. and its allies and partners, pending a longer-term political solution to the Syrian civil war in Geneva," the statement read.
Pahon also said the Pentagon is aware of Turkey's concern as an Coalition partner and NATO ally and its security concerns are legitimate.
"We will continue to be completely transparent with Turkey about our efforts in Syria to defeat ISIS and stand by our NATO ally in its counter-terrorism efforts," it added.
Pentagon's stunning statement contradicted with the spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), Ryan Dillon's statement, spurring controversy on Sunday by announcing that the coalition will establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the SDF in Syria.