UK Parliament calls for action to stop conflict between Turkey and Kurdish YPG in Syria


Turkish army forces (R), and Kurdish YPG-SDF fighters (L). Photo: Jinda Ibrahim/ARA News

ARA News

The UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Saturday said that the United Kingdom should stop the conflict between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Turkey.

The committee also called on the UK to hold talks with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD)–the political leadership of the YPG.

“Conflict between the YPG and Turkey is not in the interest of the UK or the wider international community, and the FCO [UK Foreign Affairs Office] must explain how it is going to work to end the fighting between two forces that have been the primary armies fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria,” it said.

The committee also asked the UK government to explain whether they support the creation of a safe-zone by Turkish forces and their allies in northern Syria, and provide an assessment of the implications that the creation of such a zone carries for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and any peace process, as well as for the safety and security of those within such a zone.

Moreover, the committee asked whether the UK government shares its assessment that the YPG, rather than ISIS, is the primary target of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield–launched in August 2016 in northern Syria.

The Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee suggested that the UK should persuade Turkey to continue the peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)–that collapsed in July 2015 due to mutual distrust.

“This should include support for Turkish recognition and enablement of Kurdish cultural identity, and discussion of sustainable local autonomy as the basis for the wider reconciliation of Turkish, Kurdish, and international interests,” it stressed.

Furthermore, the UK government confirmed they have had talks with the PYD, although they are worried about the links between the PYD and the PKK.

“The FCO told us that the UK does have contact and dialogue with the PYD, but Lindsay Appleby, a Director for Europe at the FCO, told us that “the conversations we have had with the PYD are about politics, about them separating themselves from the PKK and about the future of Syria”,” committee said.

“The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have made an important contribution to counter-ISIS efforts. However, we are also concerned that they maintain links with the PKK, a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK. While a range of Kurdish groups will play an important role in a political settlement for Syria, we do not recognise the declaration,” it concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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