Iraqi Kurds ready to defend Syrian Kurds: Barzani

Iraqi Kurds ready to defend Syrian Kurds: Barzani
Sat Aug 10, 2013 19:44:34

Iraqi Kurdistan's leader has threatened to intervene in Syria to protect Kurds following the massacre of Kurdish civilians by foreign-backed militants fighting in the Arab country.

If "it appears that innocent Kurdish citizens and women and children are under threat of death and terrorism, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will ... be prepared to defend" them, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government said on Saturday.

Fighting between Kurdish militia and al-Qaeda-linked groups has been escalating in north and northeastern Syria in the past weeks after Kurdish fighters managed to push back militants from several positions in the area including the town of Ras al-Ain on the border with Turkey.

Barzani also called in a statement for an investigation by Iraqi Kurdish political parties into reports of "terrorists" killing Syrian Kurds.

On Monday, militants from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front attacked Tal Abyad district of Raqqa Governorate, killing 330 women and elderly men as well as 120 children.

On July 30, a powerful Kurdish militia said it was mobilizing against al-Qaeda-linked groups in northeastern Syria following the killing of a Kurdish opposition leader in the area.

Kurds in Syria make up 10 percent of the population and are mostly concentrated in the northern part of the country.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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