Syrian Kurds worried about Geneva talks

From the ceremonies of the declaration of federalism in Rojava, Rumelan, northeaster Syria. Photo: ARA New

ARA News  

ERBIL – Syrian Kurdish activists are demanding the main Kurdish parties to unite on federalism and are calling for sit-ins to take place all across Kurdish cities of Syria on 1 April. 

Although the only thing both the Syrian opposition and regime agree on is opposing federalism, the main Syrian Kurdish factions, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) cannot agree on working together.

“It’s an initiative by young Kurds to put pressure on TEV-DEM [PYD] and KNC to sit on one table and put aside their disagreements,” Ahmed al-Rashed, a Kurdish activist based in the United Kingdom, told ARA News.

The PYD and its allies declared a federal region for Rojava and northern Syria on 17 March. However, the KNC rejected it, considering the project as an attempt by the PYD to monopolize power in Syria’s Kurdish region. 

Syrian Kurdish civilians fear that the Kurds may lose out in the Geneva talks scheduled for 9 April despite their military victories on the ground. 

Both the regime and the opposition reject any form of Kurdish federalism, and the Kurdish demands are excluded from the peace talks in Geneva. Moreover, the KNC cannot convince the Syrian opposition to accept a federal Kurdish region.

“The campaign asks all the Kurds to sign it, demanding sit-ins in all Kurdish areas to force the Kurdish parties to have a new agreement,” Kurdish activist Bader Mustafa told ARA News. “If the opposition and the regime do not acknowledge the federal region, both the PYD and KNC get nothing,” he added.

Rodi Hesen, a media analyst for the monitoring website Insightkurdistan, told ARA News that when the Kurds face external threats, calls for unity increase. 

“Many key officials of the Syrian opposition have shown their chauvinistic position towards Kurdish rights, which led to worries among Kurdish civilians,” Hesen said. “Moreover, radical Islamist groups have been shelling Sheik Maqsoud, the Kurdish neighbourhood of Aleppo, since last October, and we have seen no condemnation from the opposition,” he added.

“There is a hostile position towards Kurds by Arab opposition, amid ongoing terrorist attacks against Kurdish areas, and sever tensions between Kurdish political forces; such initiatives are positive to push Kurdish sides to unity,” he added. 

However, most people think it will be difficult for the KNC and the PYD to sort out their differences after they had three failed agreements to work together since 2012.

“No one cares about these calls,” said Idris Nassan, a former official in the PYD-dominated Kobane administration.

“Some KNC parties will join the Rojava Federalism some time later, but some other parties can’t join it and will remain as opposition because they are so against what is going on in the region,” Nassan told ARA News.

KNC officials agree that it is difficult to reach an agreement –although it’s necessary– due to the political challenges.

“This is a youth initiative to put pressure on the ENKS [KNC] and TEV-DEM [PYD] to work together and have one political point and gathering YPG and Rojava Peshmergas [Kurdish armed groups linked to the KNC],” said Zara Salih, the UK representative of the KNC. 

“To be honest I am not optimistic at the point, because those disputes exist for a long time,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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  1. Anthony
    March 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Unity is your strength! Find a way to achieve this and embrace it!

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