Syrian opposition seeks support from Kurdistan Region

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Syrian opposition leader Anas al-Abda (L) and KNC leader Ibrahim Biro speaking to a press conference in Erbil. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Erbil – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani received Anas al-Abda, the President of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), on Monday. Their subsequent discussion was wide-ranging, driven by the conflicts in northern Syria and the Kurdistan Region.

The Syrian opposition leader and the Kurdish President reviewed the security and political situation in both Syria and Iraq. They also discussed the humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Aleppo, where regime forces are on the march.

“During our meeting with President Barzani, we discussed the situation in Syria, especially in the city of Aleppo,” al-Abda told ARA News in an exclusive interview. “The regime’s forces, supported by their allies, have been targeting civilians deliberately.”

The Syrian opposition leader sought support from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to halt the “continuous [human rights] violations by the regime’s forces and the siege they’ve been imposing on opposition-held populated areas.”

Less contentiously, al-Abda made the case for cooperation between that the Syrian opposition and the Kurdistan Region when fighting the Islamic State (ISIS). “We [Syrians] and the Kurdistan Region are facing a mutual terrorist enemy. We have mutual friends and mutual enemies. That’s why we stressed the importance of having a high-level of cooperation and coordination,” he said.

Monday’s meeting was the second time al-Abda has come to Erbil to confer with President Barzani.

Mutual Friends and Mutual Enemies

Al-Abda also canvassed the Kurdish National Council’s (KNC) delegation in Erbil on Monday. The KNC is a constituent member of the Syrian National Coalition.

The President of the SNC has called on Northern Syria – Rojava (NSR), seeking the repatriation of the Rojava Peshmerga, ostensibly so that they can help keep the peace. The Rojava Peshmerga are a Syrian Kurdish force, which has been trained and financed by the Kurdistan Region.

“We support the option of having the Rojava’s Peshmerga in Syria very soon, as a part of the Kurdish National Council,” al-Abda told ARA News. “We rely on those forces to regain stability across Syria. We consider the Peshmerga a national force that’s independent of any political agendas.”

During a subsequent press conference in Erbil, al-Abda thanked the KRG for supporting the Syrian revolution and sheltering thousands of Syrian refugees.

Growing Tensions between Kurdish Parties

Al-Abda’s visit comes amidst chronic tensions between the Kurdish parties in Northern Syria – Rojava. Specifically, between the governing Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the rival Kurdish National Council.

The KNC has rejected the federal structures, local self-administrations and polyglot education system, which were constructed by the PYD in the tumult of the Syrian revolution. This stance has led to tensions between KNC and PYD.

On Saturday, Barzani condemned the alleged burning of a Kurdish flag in the town of Amude, leading to an angry response from the local self-administration. The self-administration said that they “respect all national Kurdish symbols” and suggested that Barzani was meddling in Rojava’s internal affairs.

Last Friday, PYD and KNC supporters brawled during a protest in Qamishli city. The demonstrators were seeking the release of KNC members who had been arrested by the Asayish police.

While the PYD accuses the KNC of working with Turkey and Turkish-backed Islamist rebels, the KNC has accused the PYD of working with President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Reporting by: Ehmed Shiwesh and Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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