QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Syria’s civil war including the fight against the Islamic State (IS) is far from over, a senior Syrian Kurdish politician said on Friday.
Aldar Khalil, a member of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), an umbrella organization made up of six political parties and civil society institutions, including the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the leading Kurdish party in northern Syria, told Reuters US troops should not leave northern Syria anytime soon.
Khalil added that the Syrian war “grinds on” and an end to fighting in general and against IS, in particular, is nowhere in sight.
“The [IS] campaign is not over. Now, the more difficult phase has started,” he said.
He warned that IS sleeper cells posed a big threat, and it may take decades to rout them and their sympathizers from the region.
After the breakout of Syria’s civil war in 2011, Syrian Kurds have become one of the few winners in the nearly seven-year-old conflict, having established control over large parts of the north with a powerful force that has partnered with the US-led coalition against IS.
Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ally, has asked them to take part in an international peace conference on Syria for the first time, a peace congress scheduled in the Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 29-30.
“Yes, we are invited, and we might take part in the show, but it will not succeed,” Khalil said.
“I don’t expect any breakthrough in the Syrian situation before 2021,” he said, adding he predicts the conflict “might even go on until .”
Regarding the battle against IS, Falah Mustafa, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Department of Foreign Relations, also warned, “We should not be misled into thinking that the liberation of Mosul means the end of IS or the end of terrorism.”
Additionally, analysts say the war in Syria looks set to extend into the next decade as neither side of the warring parties is strong enough to win.
Foreign powers, on the other hand, also predict a prolonged conflict. Both Assad’s forces and Syrian rebels have powerful allies who provide weapons and assistance.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany