Turkey angered over US decision to lift sanctions in northeast Syria


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SULAIMANI — Turkey responded on Friday (May 13) to a decision by the US to lift sanctions on most of northeast Syria that came earlier this week, Anadolu Agency (AA) said, calling the move "an attempt to legitimize” Syrian Kurdish forces which Ankara views as a terrorist group.

Victoria Nuland, the US under-secretary of state for political affairs, said on Wednesday Washington would begin to issue general licenses for US firms to operate in areas liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria that were not under regime control, exempting these areas from the Caesar Sanctions.

The act would cover most of northeast Syria but does not cover the province of Idlib, controlled by the Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, which is considered a terrorist group by Washington, and Afrin, which is held by Turkish forces.

The Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu, criticized the move on Friday, accusing the US of "discriminating and stated the removal of sanctions lacked "objective criteria.” He also accused the US of holding "certain motives.” according to AA.

Ankara opposes the US support to the YPG, claiming the group is part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long war against Turkey.

Cavusoglu stated Idlib deserved international support and said at least half a million Syrians returned to Afrin.

The authorization from the US Treasury Department permits investment in 12 sectors, including agriculture, but does not cover oil.

(NRT Digital Media)