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THE Foreign Office has an “incoherent” position on the future of Syrian Kurds and has failed to defend Iraqi Kurds, MPs charged yesterday.
A damning report from the Commons foreign affairs committee said that the Boris Johnson’s department needs a “clear view” on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The YPG has formed a major part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the British government has been supporting with air strikes in the fight against Isis.
But Turkey views the group and its political wing the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is classed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and Britain.
The MPs warned there was a “high risk that the expansion of the PYD/YPG will result in new conflict in the region” as Turkey has already moved against the group and the Syrian government has threatened to do so.
The committee recommended the Foreign Office “clarify its own position on the relationship between the PYD/YPG and the PKK.”
The criticism follows renewed violence in the region.
Following the independence referendum in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region — deemed unconstitutional by Baghdad — last year, Iraqi government forces stormed disputed territories in a campaign involving numerous allegations of rights abuses.
The committee heard that British government ministers held credible intelligence warning of links between Iranian and Iraqi state-backed militias.
In northern Syria, Turkey launched an offensive aimed at removing Kurdish forces from the Afrin and Tel Rifaat areas three weeks ago. More than 60 civilians have been killed and the invasion has been dogged with allegations of war crimes, including the deployment of napalm.
Yet ministers had “little to say” on the corruption or human rights issues, according to the committee.
Opposition politicians have condemned the ongoing violence and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has expressed “solidarity with the Kurdish people.”
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