Assad opposes foreign fighters joining Kurdish YPG units in anti-ISIS campaign

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Portugese YPG fighter Mario Nunes in Rojava. File photo

ARA News 

QAMISHLI – The Syrian government refuses the presence of foreign fighters on the Syrian soil, said President Bashar Assad.

Assad, in an interview with the Australian SBS TV channel, said his government rejects foreign fighters joining the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

On Tuesday, the body of the Australian fighter Jamie Bright was transported through the Syrian-Iraqi border. Bright, who had joined the Kurdish YPG forces, was killed by the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group near Shaddadi on 25 May.

Asked about the Australian fighter who died while fighting against ISIS, the Syrian President said: “Again, the same answer. If there are foreigners coming without the permission of the government, they are illegal, whether they want to fight terrorists or want to fight any other one. It is the same. It’s illegal, we can call it.”

Assad also rejected any efforts to intervene in Syria against ISIS without coordination with the Syrian government.

“Actually, we welcome any effort to fight terrorism in Syria, any effort, but this effort first of all should be genuine, not window-dressing like what’s happening now in northern Syria where 60 countries couldn’t prevent ISIS from expanding,” Assad said.

“Second, it needs to be through the Syrian legitimate government, not just because they want to fight terrorism and they can go anywhere in the world. We are a legitimate government and we are a sovereign country. So, only on these two circumstances we welcome any foreign support to fight terrorism,” he said.

The Syrian Kurds have rejected any form of legitimacy of the Syrian government, and say they will continue to work with foreign fighters and the US-led coalition to fight ISIS.

“The Assad regime has destroyed many provinces in Syria, and made Syrian people homeless, destroyed Syria from Damascus until our region [Rojava], how can we give the Syrian regime any legitimacy,” Ibrahim Kurdo, Kurdish officials and head of the Kobane foreign affairs, told ARA News.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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