ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – If Syria were to collapse, the entire region would be under threat, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned on Thursday.
“We have a territory which is feeling very much threatened, controlled by the Syrian Kurds. If Syria disintegrates, God forbid, the whole area will be under threat,” Abadi said in an interview with the American weekly news magazine, Time.
Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) currently control large swaths of territory which they’ve liberated from the Islamic State (IS) over the past few years. Its troops, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), are supported by the US and the Global Coalition against IS.
Asked about whether there would be a negotiated solution to the Syrian War that would leave Assad in power, Abadi said, “This is one side of the problem. The other side is, we have a territory which is feeling very much threatened, controlled by the Syrian Kurds.”
“If [Syrian Kurds] tried to change the map now by force on the ground this is a huge leap forward, which will force others to change their maps as well.”
Kurds are believed to be the largest stateless nation in the world with a population of more than 40 million people. They are mostly divided between four countries: Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.
“This area was divided in the last 100 years, just by pen on the map. They [Europeans] drew the borders and decided these are the states. If you want to change them, there will be bloodshed in all the region,” the Iraqi Premier added.
Rojava, also known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS), is an autonomous region in northern Syria. It consists of three self-governing regions: Afrin, Jazira, and Euphrates. The region gained its de facto autonomy in 2012 as part of the ongoing conflict and the Syrian Civil War.
The Syrian Kurdish leaders have stated that they do not seek secession, but rather to establish a federal and democratic system in the country.
Editing by Nadia Riva