The YPG has been the main protection force in Rojava. AFP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A member of the Syrian parliament said on a recent visit to Erbil that Syria’s Kurdish YPG forces, which currently control their own self-declared and semi-autonomous enclave, have no future in the country.
Sharif Shahada, who has close relations with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, told Rudaw that Kurdish efforts to break away from Syria will not succeed, because Damascus is unlikely to allow a possible Kurdish state on its soil.
“Neither the YPG or the PKK have any place in (the future) Syria,” said Shahada. ”If Kurds really plan to create a state inside Syria, let me be clear: it won’t happen,” he added.
The YPG is the Syrian affiliate of Turkey’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). However, the United States and some Western nations back the YPG forces in their war against ISIS, even though the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.
The YPG has been virtually in full control of much of Syria’s northeastern Kurdish areas since it’s PYD umbrella group declared the three autonomous cantons in Cizire, Afrin and Kobane in early 2013.
The YPG has been a formidable force in pushing back ISIS militants, which air support and some weapons supplies from the US.
So far, the PYD has not expressed any plans to secede from Damascus.
“The YPG coordinates with the Syrian government in the war against ISIS with Damascus supporting them, especially in arming them, but when the situation goes back to normal, things will be under government’s control again,” Shahada said.
”No (armed) force will be allowed outside of the Syrian army; that applies to PYD and YPG too,” he added.
Speaking about the future of the embattled Syrian president, the lawmaker said that “Assad is there to stay,” contrary to the expectations of many sides in the conflict.
Referring to Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani’s rejection of an official invitation to visit Damascus and meet with the Syrian president earlier in 2011, Shahada described the decision as “wrong.”
“Barzani was wrong in rejecting President Assad’s invitation,” he said. ”Where were Barzani and (former Iraqi president Jalal) Talabani (in the past)? Were they not in Syria? Barzani should have made that trip. He thought Assad would go, but Assad has stayed.”
Shahada said that 30 percent of Syria’s territories are under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS). He claimed the group had recruited fighters from nearly 100 countries.
“The difference between ISIS in Syria and Iraq is the fact that Syrian people oppose ISIS, while in Iraq people have embraced the group,” he said.