Tensions between Kurdish rivals in Syria continue, three PYD opponents arrested

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Supporters of the PYD and TEV-DEM (R), and KNC supporters (L). File photo

ARA News

Qamishli – Three members of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) were arrested by pro-PYD Asayish forces in northeastern Syria. However, media outlets affiliated to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) denied the arrests.

The Asayish security police of the PYD-led Self-Administration of Northern Syria on Thursday arrested Hussein Omar, a member of the KNC-affiliated Yekiti party in Girkelege (Al-Muabbada), the KNC said in a statement. He was detained on the street, and his computer confiscated.

Moreover, a member of the KNC-linked Kurdish Future Movement, Fadi Mir’ali, was also arrested on Wednesday while traveling to Qamishli to celebrate the release of six KNC members from an Asayish prison.

Also, Hussein Sulaiman, a member of the KNC-affiliated Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S), was arrested on Thursday in a village close to Çilaxa (Al-Jawadiyah). The KNC condemned the arrests and called for their release.

On 15 August 2016, at least 30 KNC members were arrested during a funeral of a Peshmerga fighter who was killed by ISIS in clashes near Mosul. The Self-Administration accused the KNC of organizing an unauthorized demonstration. Most of them were released shortly after their arrest.

Last Tuesday, six KNC members were released in Syria’s northeastern Qamishli city after months in an Asayish prison.

According to the laws of the Self-Administration of Northern Syria, any protest or activity needs a permission from the local administration.

However, the KNC does not recognize the local administrations and refuses to ask their permission for holding protests or other political or cultural activities. As a result, tensions have ensued and several members of the KNC have been arrested by the Self-Administration’s Asayish forces in the past.

“Anyone that accepts the Self-Administration can work in Rojava [Syria’s Kurdish region],” co-Chair of the PYD Salih Muslim said in a conference in London on 22 November. “I promise anyone who apply for permission to work in Rojava, they will be free to do whatever they like there.”

“We have to work all together and bring all the parties to the table to establish some balance in Rojava,” he said.

According to KNC-affiliated Yekiti media, one of their reporters called Alan Salim Ahmed is still in prison since 15 August 2016.

The KNC is the main rival of the PYD, and backed by Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The PYD, on the other hand, is closer to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Both the KDP and PKK have significant influence over the Kurdish parties in Syria.

The PYD and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) became the most dominant actors in Syrian Kurdistan after they took control of most Kurdish cities in July 2012 and established local autonomous canton administrations in Efrin, Kobani, and Cizire in 2014.

The KNC has refused to recognize these new administrations, and called for a return to previous agreements signed in Duhok and Erbil to share power between the Kurdish parties.

While the PYD has accused the KNC of working for foreign agendas and Turkey, the KNC has accused the PYD of working with the Syrian regime.

So far, the two sides have not been able to share power in northern Syria, and have been working against each other after the failure of the Duhok agreement in October 2014.

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