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Rudaw

Syria

US opposes elections in Syria's Kurdish enclaves

By Rudaw 19/9/2017
Mourners gather in Qamishli for the funeral of fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces that were killed in combat against ISIS in Raqqa on September 13. Photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP
Mourners gather in Qamishli for the funeral of fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces that were killed in combat against ISIS in Raqqa on September 13. Photo: Delil Souleiman | AFP

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The United States explained that it does not support Kurdish independence in the greater region, as the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, also known as Rojava, has elections scheduled for Friday.


US Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs for the State Department spoke to reporters in New York, as thousands of diplomats and foreign officials gather for the annual United Nations General Assembly. 

He was asked about the partitioning of Syria and "their aspirations for independence being suppressed in multiple parts of the region."

"And I’ll be very clear that there was uniform consensus in the room that now was not the moment for this referendum, announced and advocated as it has been, to proceed, said Ambassador David Satterfield.

Although the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq is scheduled to hold its own referendum on independence on September 25 — which the United States also opposes — he clarified that the talks were specific to Syrian or western Kurdistan.


"I think there is an international consensus on that point. But frankly, this was a Syria discussion, not a Kurdish-focused discussion," Satterfield said, who was the former Ambassador to Lebanon, and named acting assistant secretary in May.

People's Protection Units (YPG) from the predominately Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have formed the backbone of the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition's partnered ground forces, retaking approximately 42,000 square-kilometers or 77 percent of the territory previously held by ISIS.

The PYD-led Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria announced in July they had set September 22 (Friday) for communal elections, followed by local elections on November 3, and parliamentary elections on January 1, 2018.

The Kurdish National Council (KNC, ENKS) stated it will boycott the elections, describing them as "illegitimate."

A KNC member told Rudaw in July that the PYD imposed itself on Rojava through "the use of force," referring the name for the four Kurdish cantons in northern Syria.

In December 2016, the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria was declared by the founding members of the self-declared Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. This move was then also rejected by the Syrian government.

The Kurdish authorities also announced they had dropped the word Rojava, a Kurdish word for Syrian Kurdistan, from the official name of the federation of northern Syria.

The Syrian regime has called steps to establish the enclave as "illegal."

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Hama | 19/9/2017
Never trust western countries. PKK should realise that the U.S. is only using them for their own interests and will turn their back on kurds as soon as they are done using kurds to fight ISIS. PKK's continuing operations against ISIS in Syria have always been strange. Outside kurdish areas and the areas in between what is the purpose of fighting ISIS when ISIS no longer poses a threat to kurds? Its not our problem that U.S. and ISIS are bombing each others countries. If the U.S. wants to fight ISIS they can put their own soldiers on the ground. Why should kurds work for them as slaves? And it is a form of slavery because kurds are clearly not getting anything in return as the U.S. continues to insist on bullshit "territorial integrity" and retaining the current disasterious status quo. Kurds should remember that the west created all our suffering 100 years ago when they made that terrible map. To this day western countries continue to insist on maintaining that stupid map. And we work for them? Why are we fighting their wars when we get nothing in return? Its time we put an end to western exploitation of kurds.
Guest | 20/9/2017
I am not surprised AT ALL of this Ambassador David Satterfield's statement. The U.S. State Department is infested with a lot of pro-Turkish/anti-Kurdish cockroaches like Ambassador David Satterfield who turn a blind-eye to anything that Turkey does -- from supporting the Islamic terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS during the last 6 years to using the Russian card against the U.S. -- and after retirement they become lobbyists for Turkey in Washington, D.C.
Hamid Sayadi | 20/9/2017
I am just repasting the argument of gentleman above HAMA!!! it's so great expression the war of {Spartacus}! Slave fighting for entertainment of citizens of Athens in Old Greek empires!! Never trust western countries. PKK should realise that the U.S. is only using them for their own interests and will turn their back on kurds as soon as they are done using kurds to fight ISIS. PKK's continuing operations against ISIS in Syria have always been strange. Outside kurdish areas and the areas in between what is the purpose of fighting ISIS when ISIS no longer poses a threat to kurds? Its not our problem that U.S. and ISIS are bombing each others countries. If the U.S. wants to fight ISIS they can put their own soldiers on the ground. Why should kurds work for them as slaves? And it is a form of slavery because kurds are clearly not getting anything in return as the U.S. continues to insist on bullshit "territorial integrity" and retaining the current disasterious status quo. Kurds should remember that the west created all our suffering 100 years ago when they made that terrible map. To this day western countries continue to insist on maintaining that stupid map. And we work for them? Why are we fighting their wars when we get nothing in return? Its time we put an end to western exploitation of kurds.
Vietnam Veteran | 20/9/2017
State Department is loaded with Obama's people. Their Cockroaches...
just_friend | 20/9/2017
To HAMA : don't forget geographic implications ! Probably, US threatens by saying if you don't help us, we will let Turkey and even Syria attack you. So, it's a time-play. We will see in the future, who will finally win this. The party you cite is far from naive. You can study their global history.
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