By Dilara Hamit
ANKARA (AA) - The US has denied providing helicopter piloting training to SDF partners in Syria after "a mysterious helicopter" carrying PKK elements crashed in northern Iraq.
Following the crash of a helicopter carrying PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the questions of how the helicopter ended up in the hands of the PKK terror organization and the source of the training and weapons assistance to the terror organization's affiliate in Syria, remained to be answered.
"Today a helicopter, a mysterious helicopter was crashed -- crashed in Northern Iraq and it came out that it was carrying PKK elements. My question is, does the United States provide helicopter piloting training to SDF partners in Syria or not?" Anadolu asked during a news conference on Thursday.
"I -- not to my knowledge. No. We do not. Thank you," Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said.
The Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) issued a statement on their official Facebook page in response to the helicopter crash in Duhok.
The statement said the relevant institutions alerted the Iraqi central government, international coalition forces, and Türkiye about the crashed helicopter, "although it was later revealed that it did not belong to them." The security forces started a preliminary inquiry into the helicopter, and the initial results showed it was a Eurocopter AS350 model, and that some of the dead were PKK terrorists, while a thorough inquiry is ongoing to discover who owns the helicopter, it added.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense said the allegations in various social media posts, claiming that a Turkish Armed Forces helicopter crashed in northern Iraq, did not reflect the truth.
SDF is the label the PKK terror group uses in Syria. In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.