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Thursday, December 29, 2016

U.S. embassy in Ankara denies supporting ISIS

The United States embassy in Ankara on Wednesday denied Washington had ever supported Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists in the Syrian conflict, a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the extremists had enjoyed American backing.

"The United States government is not supporting Daesh," the embassy said in a terse statement quoted by AFP, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The United States "did not create or support Daesh in the past. Assertions the United States government is supporting Daesh are not true," it added. The statement did not mention Erdogan by name but said there was "considerable misinformation circulating in Turkish media" about U.S. operations against ISIS in Syria. "For those interested in the truths, here are the truths," the embassy said.

Erdogan had on Tuesday accused coalition forces led by the United States of supporting not just the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) in Syria but also ISIS.  "It's quite clear, perfectly obvious," he said, adding that Turkey could provide proof in pictures and video.

The YPG works on the ground with the United States against ISIS but is seen as a terror group by Ankara and the local branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). READ MORE