U.S. troops ordered to remove Kurdish insignias from uniforms

by WorldTribune Staff, May 29, 2016

The Pentagon has ordered U.S. special forces soldiers to stop wearing the insignia patch of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on their uniforms.

Photos of U.S. troops with the insignia patches infuriated Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian president, who views the YPG as a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK).

U.S. troops in Syria wearing the YPG insignia patch. /Delil Souleiman/AFP
Some U.S. troops in Syria were seen wearing the YPG insignia patch. /Delil Souleiman/AFP

“Wearing those YPG patches was unauthorized, and it was inappropriate and corrective action has been taken,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a Baghdad-based spokesman, told reporters on May 27. “And we have communicated as much to our military partners and our military allies in the region.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said U.S. troops wearing YPG patches revealed “hypocrisy” and “double standards.”

“We advise [the US troops] to wear badges of [the Islamic State group] or [the Al Qaida affiliate] Al-Nusra when they go to other parts of Syria and badges of Boko Haram when they go to Africa,” Cavusoglu said derisively. “If they don’t see these [groups] as the same as the YPG, then this is double standards, hypocrisy.”

The photographs, the first to show U.S troops in Syria, were taken in a village about 40 miles north of ISIL’s self-declared capital of Raqqa, which is the target of a newly announced offensive being led by a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by American military advisers and air support.

The Syrian Kurds have been an effective force against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the U.S. considers the YPG one of its strongest allies on the ground in Syria.