Syrian Kurds inaugurate representation office in Sweden

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Sinam Mohammed, Bassam Ishak and Jazira Canton's minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulkarim Omar all gave speeches during the inauguration. Photo: Joakim Medin/ARA News

ARA News 

STOCKHOLM – Hundreds of Kurds from across Sweden attended a ceremony on Sunday, when officials from the Syrian Kurdish administration of Rojava opened an official representation office in the Swedish capital Stockholm. 

The ”Rojava Bureau” was inaugurated in a business center in the city, with Kurdish visitors dancing on the street outside, and security provided by several men and women dressed in Kurdish YPG uniforms. Among the officials attending were Sinam Mohammed, representative of the Rojava administration in northern Syria to Europe and the US; Abdulkarim Omar, minister of Foreign Affairs of Jazira Canton; and Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria.

The official who by far recieved the most attention was the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) Commander Nesrin Abdullah, who with her visit to Sweden concluded a month and a half long journey across Europe, during which the Rojava delegation visited Czech Republic, France, Italy and other European states. 

“The goal has been to establish relations with different organizations, political parties and governments,” Nesrin Abdullah told ARA News. “We want their support either in a political, humanitarian or military form.”

During a week-long visit to Sweden, Abdullah has spoken in the Parliament, met with several parties, and even recieved a sum of $8000 donation by primary school students in a small town, for the construction of a new school in war-torn Kobane. Meetings have also taken place with the Swedish minister of Defence and officials from the Swedish ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the Rojava delegation asked for medical assistance for those wounded in the fight against the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS).

The minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Hultqvist stated to the Swedish news bureau TT that he had made no promises at all, but only recieved information.

Diplomatic delegations from the Rojava administration and officials from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) have already been travelling through Europe for years. But this has been the first time that a high ranking official from their military forces has accompanied a delegation throughout an entire tour. One reason has likely been to remind European governments that they still depend on the Kurdish forces of Rojava to take the fight on the ground for them against ISIS, in case they don’t want to ally themselves with the Syrian government, Russia and Iran instead.

In the beginning of April, Nesrin Abdullah and the same constellation of officials visited the Czech capital Prague, and opened a representation office by the name of ”YPG and YPJ Europe”. However, those offices will all be civil ones. 

“This will create a bridge between Europe and the revolution and Protection Units of Rojava,” said Abdullah.

Sinam Mohammed, European representative of the Rojava administration, and Bassam Ishak president of the Syriac National Council of Syria cut the ribbon to officially open the representation

Sinam Mohammed, European representative of the Rojava administration, and Bassam Ishak president of the Syriac National Council of Syria cut the ribbon to officially open the representation. Stockholm, April 18,2016. Photo: Joakim Medin

The goal is to eventually inaugurate similar representation offices in every European state and in the US, explained Rojava official Sinem Mohammed. Another office will be opened soon in Berlin, possibly already within a month. 

“After that we also plan to open offices in Copenhagen, Paris and Washington D.C.,” Mohammed said.

Another reason behind such efforts, she said, is to try to circumvent the fact that PYD, the biggest Syrian Kurdish party and political engine behind the Rojava administration, is being blocked from attending the United Nation’s talks on Syria in Geneva – mainly because of pressure from Turkey and the Syrian opposition. They therefor lack influence in that international arena, despite being an ally to the West and in control of almost all of northern Syria.

“This means that they are still not serious about solving the problems in Syria. If they want to find a solution, they should include the big territory of Rojava in the discussions. So they are already dividing Syria, while we want to unify Syria with our project,” Mohammed told ARA News.

Yet another reason behind the opening of Rojava representation offices has been to gain international political recognition for the plans of introducing a federal system to Syria, or at least transforming their own territory into a federal entity. PYD and several representatives from Christian, Arab and Turkmen communities of northern Syria agreed on such a project in the mid March. The declared goals have however recieved criticism from other representatives of those communities, from other Kurds and even from allies to PYD. Several states have also voiced criticism. 

“European governments are saying we have a project of dividing Syria, because they heard it’s just for the Kurds. We say it’s not true, that this is a solution for all of Syria and that we are willing to discuss if anyone has an even better solution,” she said.

However Jazira Canton’s Foreign Affairs minister Abdulkarim Omar said that all of the European state’s officials they have met, have at the same time agreed on that the Rojava administration should be included in the Geneva talks.

“But they have not yet taken a step towards saying so openly, and showing any support in practical terms,” Omar told ARA News. “Only when it’s discussed informally between us can they agree.” 

Reporting by: Joakim Medin 

Source: ARA News 

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