Mekdad Labels Kurdish Election Plans in Northern Syria a ‘Joke’

Syrian government will 'not allow' the Kurdish administration to divide the county by holding independent elections, Deputy FM tells foreign press

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said in an interview with Reuters and the BBC in Damascus that the Syrian government will eventually take back areas under Kurdish control, saying that Kurdish plans for elections in the north “will be a joke."

"Syria will never allow any part of its territory to be separated,” he added.

The Kurdish Self-Administration recently set the period between the end of the summer and January to run elections for a local council and regional parliament, a step which seems to aim for a strengthening of its developing autonomy.

Kurdish groups and their allies control parts of northern Syria within areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is backed by the United States and is an alliance of armed groups led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.

Mekdad continued: "We believe that in the north of Syria we have Syrian citizens who will not endanger the situation in the country or move ahead to any manifestation of dividing Syria. Those who will move in those directions know what price they have to pay.”

Responding to a question about the Syrian government’s willingness to retake areas currently under Kurdish groups' control, Mekdad said that it was not a question of “willing” but a question of “must,” adding that, “The territorial integrity of Syria will never be under dispute.”

Mekdad added that it was the responsibility of the international community to maintain the unity of Syria and renewed Damascus’ repeated calls to foreign states to stop funding groups fighting in the Syrian conflict.

The head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party previously said on Sunday that Syria’s Kurds are not aspiring to establish an independent area, but for Syria to become a democratic, federalist state providing all its citizens with equal rights.

Mekdad urged the United States to stop its activities inside Syria, saying that he believed the actions were illegal and that they had cost “thousands of lives.”

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) supports the Syrian Democratic Forces with airstrikes and other means of military aid in its war to expel ISIS from Syria.

The coalition admitted in early July at least 600 civilians had been killed in its airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since the operation began in 2014. War monitors put the tolls much higher.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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