The YPG has been the main protection force in Rojava. Photo: AFP-Getty Images.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A top Syrian diplomat says Damascus will continue to provide Kurdish fighters in Syrian Kurdistan with military and financial support.
Syrian reconciliation minister Ali Haidar told Rudaw he conducted “constructive talks” with Kurdish officials on a recent visit to Syrian Kurdistan, or Rojava, where he met with local officials.
“We have been providing all possible military assistance for the Kurdish forces in order to empower them against terror,” Haidar said. “We are still providing them with our support in order to defeat the terrorist organizations,” he added.
The Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYD) declared autonomy in the three regional cantons of Rojava last year. It has been locked in fierce fighting with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), and categorically denies any collaboration with Damascus and regards the Syrian government as “oppressive.”
Haidar said he assured his Kurdish hosts in Rojava of the Syrian government’s support for talks about a range of issues, including the political status of Rojava “within Syria.”
“The response from the Kurdish officials was positive,” the minister said. “They told me their project (for self-rule) could be revised and altered since all the projects are designed to find a solution within the sovereign state of Syria.”
With a population exceeding 1 million, Rojava is currently a Kurdish administrated region divided into three cantons. The PYD and its armed wing the Peoples’ Protection Unit (YPG) are the authorities in the enclave.
PYD has denied links with the Syrian regime, though no clashes have taken place between them and the Syrian army since the uprising began in 2011.
“Qamishloo is Syrian soil,” Haidar said, referring to the Syrian city in Rojava where his meeting took place. “My trip was an effort to alleviate any danger and to repair bridges between the Syrian leadership and the people of this area more profoundly,” he said.
Regarding Kurdish flags hoisted at checkpoints in Rojava, the minister said his government had no objection as long as “everything remains within a united Syria.”
Haidar said he had also been in talks with other groups in the region, including the Christians and the Arabs of the region.