State Department: Independence of Kurds a Matter for ‘the Syrian People’

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The ultimate decision of whether or not Kurds should be allowed to establish their own region in northern Syria lies with the Syrian people, according to the U.S. Department of State (DOS).

While the Obama administration maintained that it will not recognize a Kurdish de-facto federal zone in Syria, it also said that the Syrian people should decide the fate of such a move.

“The United States has not and will not recognize a ‘self-rule’ semi-autonomous zone. We remain committed to the unity and territorial integrity of Syria,” a State Department spokesperson told Breitbart News.

“This issue will have to be addressed by Syrians themselves during a political transition. We are focused on advancing a genuine, negotiated political transition towards an inclusive government that is capable of serving the interests of all the Syrian people,” the DOS continued. “This issue will have to be addressed by Syrians themselves during a political transition.”

Kurds in northern Iraq have also recently made a renewed call for an independent state of their own, but the Obama administration has not officially taken a position on that declaration.

Last Thursday, Kurds announced their intention to combine three Kurdish-led autonomous areas in northern Syria into a federal system.

The announcement came after the Kurds were excluded from talks in Geneva to resolve Syria’s civil war, which has been raging since March 2011.

Both supporters and opponents of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, including the United States, rebuked the Kurds’ declaration of a de-facto federal region in Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria last week.

“Our policy is very clear,” explained the State Department spokesperson.

“The future of Syria is to be decided by Syrians, consistent with the political transition and election process enshrined in UNSCR [United Nations Security Council Resolution] 2254.”

According to the resolution, the UN’s Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012, is the “basis for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition.”

The June 2012 statement contains the principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition agreed upon some UN members and various Arab countries.

“We also support the territorial integrity of Syria, a unified and democratic Syria in which the rights of all groups are protected,” the DOS spokesperson told Breitbart News. “These principles are also enshrined in UNSCR 2254.”

The U.S.-backed Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), control large swaths of northern Syria.

Turkey has linked the PYD and YPG to the communist separatist group known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist group by both Ankara and Washington.

The DOS spokesperson told Breitbart News:

We urge all Syrian parties to work together in a manner consistent with UNSCR 2254, in order to advance the political process enshrined therein. Our position remains that we would not recognize any self-rule semi-autonomous zone…

Elements inconsistent with UNSCR 2254… or suggesting a solely unilateral effort on the part of certain groups, may jeopardize the political transition process. We reiterate our commitment to UNSCR 2254, the territorial integrity of Syria, and the need for all Syrian parties to forge a genuine and credible political transition.


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