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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL1467, tabled on 23 July 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the security of the mainly Kurdish cantons of north and east Syria, and in particular of the risk of attacks by Islamic extremists.

Answered on

30 July 2014

The Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) in Syria and associated armed groupings have effectively been in control of most of the Kurdish areas in North-East Syria since they unilaterally declared autonomy in November 2013.

We are aware of reports of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (also known as ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) attacks on Kurdish forces in Kobane and other areas in Northern and Eastern Syria. Reports suggest that the attacks in Kobane began on 7 July, and that ISIL has employed heavy weapons seized from Iraqi Security Forces. ISIL is a serious threat in Syria and Iraq. We remain concerned that their access to more sophisticated weaponry, a swelling of their ranks and improved morale will now place them in a stronger position to threaten all those in Syria, regardless of their affiliation. Primary responsibility for this situation lies with the Assad regime whose actions have fuelled extremism in Syria.

The UK remains committed to supporting the moderate opposition in Syria to bolster them against the regime and against the extremists, and to help bring about a political solution, which remains the only way to achieve a sustainable resolution to the crisis.