US meets with Syrian Kurds linked to terror group

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki speaks at the daily briefing at the State Department in Washington,dc on March 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department says it has held direct talks with a Syrian Kurdish political party that is linked to a guerrilla group that the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday the meeting with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party happened last weekend, outside the region.

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The discussion focused on threats posed by Islamic State militants, and marked the first direct talks between the two sides.

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The Kurdish group is known as the PYD and is seen as a Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Both aspire to create an independent nation for ethnic Kurds out of parts of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.

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The PKK has attacked Turkey for decades, and is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington.

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