Kurdish National Council tries to regain position in Rojava, holds forum in Kobane

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Syrian Kurds wave the Kurdish flag as they rally against the Syrian regime and to mark Newroz spring festivities in the northern city of Qamishli. File photo: AFP

ARA News

Kobane – The Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) held a political forum in the city of Kobane, alongside both governing and opposition parties from the Northern Syria self-administration.

The forum took place during the unprecedented visit of the KNC’s leaders, Enwer Naso and Marouf Malla, to the burgeoning city. Rival Kurdish parties discussed recent developments in the Kurdish region and the Syrian state.

The KNC was criticized by the other parties in attendance for boycotting the meeting in Hmemin Base, which was sponsored by Russia. At the Hmemin talks, delegations from the Syrian regime and some Kurdish parties exchanged views on the ongoing crisis and the future of the war-torn country.

The KNC’s local office in Kobane recently announced that its decision-making has been separated from the KNC’s central commission in Urfa. Kobane’s KNC committee has started holding forums and activities in an effort to regain its position and restore its reputation in the post-war city.

Enwer Naso, a leading member of the Yetiti Party and the KNC, told ARA News that the council has started discussing its political agenda with the people and rival political factions in northern Syria.

“The Kurdish National Council has been holding meetings in Kobane and discussing the council’s political agenda with the people of Kobane,” Naso explained.

“As you know, Syria is now undergoing a new phase of peace negotiations, and the crisis might be resolved soon,” the Kurdish politician continued. “There are planned negotiations, and we’re preparing ourselves to participate as a Kurdish force to guarantee the legitimate rights of our people in [this] new Syria.”

Naso concluded, saying that his party “won’t accept exclusion from crucial negotiations that might decide the future of Syria.”

Mustafa Abde, a member of the Kurdish Unity Party which participated in the KNC’s forum, told ARA News that his bloc “believes that every party has the right to explain its policies and that this is each party’s duty towards the people.”

He cautioned, however, that in an open forum the parties “have to accept any kind of criticism,” that comes their way.

“We have participated in this forum as we had no reason to boycott the KNC,” Abde continued. “We have our own vision, but we are ready to join in talks with any political movement in the region, whether it’s the PYD or the KNC.”

The Kurdish National Council is backed by President Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The Democratic Union Party (PYD), on the other hand, is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The PYD is widely considered to be the leading Kurdish party in northern Syria, having filled the vacuum that emerged after the withdrawal of the Syrian military, early in the 6-year-old crisis.

So far, the KNC and PYD have not been able to share power in northern Syria, and have been working at cross-purposes since the Duhok Agreement fell apart in October 2014. While the PYD has repeatedly accused the KNC of working for Turkey, the KNC has accused the PYD of working with the Syrian government.

According to Michael Stephens, head of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the PYD refuses to cooperate with the KNC because the council receives support from Turkey.

“I think the PYD simply resists any type of interaction with the KNC these days because they see them entirely as a Turkish sponsored entity, [working] to undermine Kurdish political ambitions,” Stephens told ARA News.

“As the conflict in Turkey has gotten worse their attitudes have hardened yet further,” the research fellow reasoned. “Additionally, the KNC’s position is increasingly weakened by the general course of the war in which the mainstream opposition is rapidly losing to Bashar al-Assad.”

“This has caused a problem for the KNC and heightened tensions between themselves and the PYD at the same time. Ultimately the KNC has fewer and fewer cards to play,” Stephens concluded. “Their grip, both inside Rojava and in the Syrian opposition more broadly, is slipping.”

 

Reporting by: Enwer Omar | Source: ARA News 

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