Syrian Kurds snub outlawed PKK, reach out to Turkey

Syrian Kurds snub outlawed PKK, reach out to Turkey

2 min read
11 January, 2017
US-backed Syrian Kurds have said they are not part of a Turkish-Kurdish armed group considered a terrorist group by Turkey and said they want friendly relations with Ankara.
Syrian Kurds have not been invited to the Turkish-Russian brokered Syria peace talk [SDF]

The Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] released an online statement on Tuesday saying that it was not a part of the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK], after Syrian Kurds were snubbed from planned peace talks.

"The SDF stresses that we are not a part of the PKK, as has been claimed by some regional powers," the statement read.

"We are in fact an integral part of the land and people of Syria that has made great sacrifices and shed blood next to various Syrian factions to free our people from filthy Islamic State group terrorists," it said.

The statement added that it looks forward to building relations with all neighbouring countries, including Turkey, based on principles of mutual respect.

The Kurdish-Arab alliance has been battling since November 5 to retake Raqqa, the main IS bastion in Syria and the group's self-declared capital.

The SDF said it would continue to work with the US-led coalition to "rid the world of this common threat to the values of the civilised world" and fight "until the end in Raqqa".

The SDF is a close ally of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] and its armed wing, the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units [YPG], which have been Western allies in the Syrian war but are hated by Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the PYD a "terror group" for its links to the PKK Kurdish separatist group in Turkey and has blasted the US for working with the group on the ground in Syria.

The PKK is also proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the US.

Turkish troops entered northern Syria on August 24 in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, with the aim of ousting IS as well as the SDF/YPG from the border area.

The operation has halted the westward advance of the Kurds.

Syrian Kurds have not been invited to the Turkish-Russian brokered talks on the political future of Syria due to take place this month in Kazakhstan.

In March, Syrian Kurds unilaterally proclaimed the creation of a federal region grouping the territories they control in northern Syria.

However, the Turkish ground offensive dubbed "Euphrates Shield" along the border in Syria has put an end to Kurdish hopes of unifying the territories they control.