Haytham Manna. File photo

ARA News

ERBIL – Haytham Manna, the head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC)  has denounced the announcement of a federation in northern Syria, aka Rojava.

“We reject this one-sided initiative and ask them to retract it and work within the framework of the SDC,” said Manna, as quoted by Reuters.

Haytham Manna leads the SDC along with co-chair Ilham Ahmad. The SDC was formed in December 2015 in a two-days conference in the Kurdish city of Derik, close to the Syrian-Iraqi border. Both the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Manaa left the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC), and the PYD supported Manaa to become co-chair of the SDC, the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). 

Previously, Manna decided not to join the Geneva talks without the participation of the PYD.

Rodi Hesen, a media analyst for the monitoring website Insightkurdistan, told ARA News that it seems Manna does not support federalism. “It is not a logical idea by Manna, because the Kurds have a non-ethnic project to gain their rights. Kurds are afraid of the future, so they seek self-rule in northern Syria,” he added.

“Until now there is no constitutional recognition of Kurdish national rights,” Hesen said. “The Syrian opposition fears the Syrian Kurds will use federalism just as the Kurds in Iraq for a stepping stone to independence,” he added. “They forget that the Iraqi government pushed the Kurds in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to think about independence to secure the future of their people.”

“The Syrian Kurds fear that both the opposition and the regime will not recognize Kurds in the future, and will not recognize Kurdish rights,” he added.

Moreover, he suggested that since the Kurds do not make up an absolute majority population group of the northern Syria, they are working with Arabs, Christians, Turkmen and other minorities. “It is a good initiative from Kurds for co-existence. It is the duty of the Syrian opposition to take away Kurdish fears about their fate in Syria, and to stop make their reactionary opposing Kurdish steps,” he added.

A Syrian opposition member who participates in Geneva told ARA News on the condition of anonymity, that Haytham Manna feels left out of power. “He just wants to enhance his political position in front of other Syrian opposition figure and looking for fake leadership. So he joined them and formed SDC. Now he wants to distance himself again, because he felt that he lost hugely instead of gaining power,” the official said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

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