US ‘not interested’ in changing Syria’s territorial integrity, focuses on ISIL
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
CİHAN photoThe main aim of the international coalition forces is fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria rather than “changing the territorial integrity” of the country, the U.S. State Department has stated, striking a slightly different note to Ankara.
“Everybody is focused on the ISIL threat inside Syria, and Turkey has itself said that is where the locus of its energy will be applied. We continue to have conversations with them about how best to bolster security in the region and how to achieve a common objective. We’ve also been very clear that we’re not interested in doing anything that’s going to change the territorial integrity of Syria,” said Spokesperson John Kirby, speaking at the State Department’s daily press meeting.
Kirby also said that although Syrian Kurds had proved effective in their fight against ISIL, a change in Syria regarding their ambitions for their own nation-state was out of the question.
“There’s no support from the coalition to do anything to change the territorial integrity of Syria. We’ve made that clear,” he added.
Kirby also touched on the recent outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks targeting Turkish security forces, reiterating Washington’s stance on Turkey’s right to self-defense and the necessity of a political solution.
“We’ve talked about this before, recognizing that Turkey has a right to defend itself against terrorist attacks. I would add that we continue to call for the PKK to cease their attacks, to return to a political process here. We’ve made it clear that our expectation is that Turkey is going to take the necessary steps to prevent any civilian casualties and to act in accordance with international humanitarian law,” he said.
Kirby emphasized that Turkey was not using the fight against ISIL to go after Kurdish fighters inside Syria, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), but rather was responding to the PKK for its attacks inside Turkey.
Meanwhile, Kirby also said the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul would be reopened on Aug. 11, pointing to a “joint effort” with Turkish officials regarding the Aug. 10 armed attack that led to its closure, Cihan News Agency reported.