Politics, Europe

UK 'uneasy' on coordination between Kurdish forces and regime

Foreign secretary says Syrian Kurdish forces coordinating with government, Russian air force

Michael Sercan Daventry   | 23.02.2016
UK 'uneasy' on coordination between Kurdish forces and regime British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond

London, City of

LONDON

 There are “very disturbing” signs of coordination between Russia, the Syrian regime and Kurdish forces in Syria, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Tuesday.

In comments to a parliamentary committee, Hammond said the Syrian Kurds were “an important part” of any peace deal in Syria but that collaboration with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and Russia was making Britain “distinctly uneasy”.

Recognizing Turkey’s concerns over support for Syrian groups linked to the PKK, which has been fighting a 32-year insurgency against Turkey, Hammond said: “Turkey has a problem with links between the PKK and Syrian Kurdish groups, [the] PKK being a terrorist group designated as such in Turkey and indeed in the U.K.

“And there are overlaying conflicts here and the Turkish-Kurdish conflict is a major complicating factor.

“What we have seen over the last weeks is very disturbing evidence of coordination between Syrian Kurdish forces, the Syrian regime and the Russian air force which are making us distinctly uneasy about the Kurds' role in all this.”

The minister’s comments came as the Syrian government and opposition groups indicated they would accept by a temporary truce agreed between the U.S. and Russia that is to come into effect on Saturday.

The Syrian PYD and its armed wing the YPG are affiliated to the PKK. Turkey considers all three to be terrorist organizations while the U.S. and EU recognize only the PKK as such.

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