US Repeats: We Do Not Recognize Kurdish Local Administrations in Syria

ARA NEWS –  2016-05-24 23:42 GMT –  The US will not recognize any form of sovereignty for Syria’s Kurds, while they work with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to take Raqqa from ISIS militants, US State Department deputy spokesman Mark C. Toner said.”We’ve also made it clear to these Kurdish forces as well that they should not seek to create autonomous, semi-autonomous zones, that they should not seek to retain the territory that they liberate,” Toner said on Monday.

“(…) rather that they should make sure it’s returned to whatever civilian authorities there are and able to — so that all displaced people can return there. This is — but we also recognize the fact that these [Kurds] are effective fighting forces and that they are willing to take on and dislodge Daesh [ISIS],” Toner added.

“With regard to the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, we’ve worked with a variety of groups and we’ve talked a lot about the YPG and the other — and the Kurdish forces on the ground, and they’ve been effective partners in going after and, frankly, dislodging Daesh from many parts of northern Syria,” the spokesman said.

“That cooperation continues. It’s also — we provide the same assistance to other groups, Syrian Turkmen and Syrian Arabs who are also on the ground fighting Daesh in parts of northern Syria,” he added.

Moreover, the US official said they remain in close dialogue with Turkey and understand their ‘concerns regarding Kurdish forces in northern Syria’.

However, the US State Department made clear that the previous visit of US Envoy Brett McGurk and the US CENTCOM commander Gen Joseph Votel to Syria’s Kurdish region [Rojava] is not recognition of the local administrations set up by Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.

“I don’t believe so. I mean, it’s a recognition that we want to cooperate with these forces and see, obviously, through close contact that we can get an assessment — their assessment for a first hand of what their needs are and what their challenges are on the ground. I think it’s part of our ongoing cooperation, but it’s not to imply any kind of recognition of their sovereignty or whatever,” he stated.

Speaking to ARA News, Faysal Itani, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, said that the US just want to use the Kurds to fight against the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS.

“The reason is the US has a Syria policy and an ISIS policy and they’re not the same thing. The US is not interested in involving itself in Syria’s future and the Kurds’ place in it. This is too politically and strategically messy. They are just interested in the Kurds’ military utility against ISIS,” Itani said.