Last updated: 14 July, 2015

US does not support Kurdish entity in Syria: general

The United States does not support the establishment of an autonomous Kurdish entity in northern Syria, the US special envoy for the coalition against Islamic State extremists said Tuesday.

Kurdish fighters have made gains in war-torn Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group, notably in land close to the border in the north with Turkey, triggering concern in Ankara that the Kurds might attempt to establish their own state in Syria.

“We don’t support, and I don’t think the Kurds support in northern Syria, a separate governmental entity,” said retired general John Allen.

“It is important that a partner that has ultimately been enabled to defeat Daesh (IS) does not become an occupying force,” Allen told a Washington think tank.

Turkey has fought a 31-year insurgency in its southeast by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara claims is closely linked to the main Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia.

Allen also admitted that some of Washington’s allies in the war with IS would be unnerved by Tuesday’s nuclear deal between the West and Iran.

“For many of the members of the coalition, Iran has been, is and probably will remain one of the principal sources of threat to their national security,” he said.

“I won’t speculate on the outcome of the announcement made this morning with respect to whether it will fundamentally change Iran’s behavior, but it’s of course a very important question for all” coalition members, Allen said.