Syrian Kurds don’t want federalism: President Assad

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. File photo

ARA News

Damascus – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday repeated his rejection of the Northern Syria – Rojava (NSR) administration and denied that the majority of the Kurds want federalism. Both remarks came in response to a question posed by the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.

“About the Kurdish question, I was in Qamishli and they want a federation. [The Kurds] said their ideal model of a state is like Russia. Russia has many nationalities and they constitute the Russian Federation. Why can’t Syria be a federation?” Pravda reporter Daria Aslamova asked Assad.

Assad responded, saying: “We can talk about the part of the Kurds that need this, only part of them. The majority of them, no, they don’t ask for [federalism].” He then went on to enumerate his reasons for rejecting the NSR administration and any comparable federalist project.

“[First, we’d have] to have a referendum by the Syrian people to say yes or no,” Assad began. “Second, some people, they talk about Kurdish federalism in the north [but] most of the Kurds don’t ask for this.”

“[Third,] Even if you want it, the majority in that area are Arabs. So how can you have Kurdish federalism while you have a majority of Arabs?” Assad concluded.

Not Assad’s Decisions Anymore

Bader Mustafa, a member of the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK), told ARA News that Assad is trying to send a message to the Kurds and asserting his own dominion over Syria. “It is the same delusion he has been living for, for years. It is not Assad’s decision anymore.”

“Assad is [telling] the Kurds that his regime can prevent what the Kurds want, which is a federal system and an end to the dictatorship of the Arab majority,” Mustafa said.

“I think it is not the right of any majority to decide for the minority. We as Kurds are not a minority voluntarily, but due to the Sykes-Picot agreement, which prevented us from having one Kurdish state,” Mustafa said. “It is obvious that the Kurds do not want a centralised state in Syria.”

Zara Salih, a Member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria, agreed. “What Assad is saying isn’t anything new, he is still denying the Kurdish issue and rejects the federal system the Kurdish people ask for.”

“Assad keeps sending messages to the Kurds, especially to the Democratic Union Party, saying that what they’re doing against ISIS is their duty and there are no privileges for them,” Salih told ARA News. 

Assad in the interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda also claimed that his regime has supported the Kurds in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Syrian Kurds within the NSR administration have strenuously and repeatedly denied those claims. “We sent them armaments and your army knows all the details,” Assad told Aslamova.

According to Salih, the Kurds want federalism and the recognition of Kurdish national rights in the Syrian constitution. Currently, both President Assad’s government and the Syrian opposition reject any form of federalism in Syria.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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