Kurdish-led Syrian forces, Iraqi army coordinate to protect border
QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian alliance forces on Monday said they established a joint military center with the Iraqi army to protect the common borders.
Speaking to Kurdistan 24, Mustafa Bali, a spokesperson for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is a leading element, said they met with officers of the Iraqi army and agreed to cooperate against any potential attacks by Islamic State (IS) militants.
The two sides discussed the issues of protecting the security of the border between Iraq and Syria in the area adjacent to the province of Deir al-Zor, and how to eliminate IS in the region.
“The meeting was attended by the Iraqi General Qasim Mohammed Saleh and his assistant General Abdul Hussein, and from the Syrian side Hassan Qamishlo and Angizik Khalil, SDF commanders, attended,” the SDF said in an online statement.
On the political level, the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria highly appreciated the move saying they seek good neighborly relations with Iraq.
Abdulsalam Ahmad, a leading member of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), the main ruling council of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan), told Kurdistan 24 they seek good neighborly relations with Iraq.
“Coordination is needed on political and military levels, in addition to the economic level and many other levels,” he said.
The SDF ousted IS from Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria, and launched an offensive on Deir al-Zor Province in September and, so far, has seized most areas of the northern Euphrates River from IS.
The US-backed SDF seized the largest oil fields in eastern Syria, including Omar and Tanak oil fields, raising concerns for the Syrian government forces, which are backed by Russia and Iran.
Turkey, on the other hand, is infuriated by Washington’s support for the SDF and their leading component, the YPG, whom they see as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has fought Turkey for decades over broader Kurdish rights.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Lava Asaad)