Iraqi Kurdistan’s president Barzani against Kurdish civil war in northern Syria


President Masoud Barzani. File photo

ARA News

Erbil – Masoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, said during the 2017 World Economic Forum that he wants to avoid a civil war in northern Syria – Rojava.

Since 2012, the Zerevani forces affiliated with Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) have trained thousands of Syrian Kurds – the Rojava Peshmerga. However, due to disagreements between the Barzani-backed Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Rojava Peshmerga have been unable to return to Syria.

“We don’t want to see Kurdish–Kurdish fighting in Rojava, that is why we have not sent back the Rojava Peshmerga,” Barzani said. “We are not optimistic about the future of Kurdistan–Rojava.”

Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC), has started lobbying Washington to ensure the return of the Rojava Peshmerga. He argues that the “Peshmerga of Rojava can be the bridge to lessen regional tensions and a force multiplier in the anti-ISIS campaign.”

However, Pentagon officials have rejected the idea, saying that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have the most effective fighters in northern Syria, and that trying to assemble, train and equip an alternative force could be difficult and at best would take months.

In a meeting with the Dutch envoy to Syria, Ambassador Gerard Steeghs, Masrour Barzani argued that the agreements signed in Erbil and Duhok would ensure Kurdish unity and safeguard the rights and land of the Kurdish people.

However, the YPG have rejected the existence of two Kurdish militaries in Rojava, arguing that this could lead to fratricide or even a civil war; comparable to the one the Iraqi Kurds fought in the 1990s.

The Rojava Peshmerga are now fighting with other Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan. In November, they played a major part in the Bashiqa operation, which expelled the Islamic State (ISIS) from Bashiqa District in northern Iraq.

Muhammed Emin Silo, a member of the Rojava Peshmerga, was killed last Wednesday after he was shot by an ISIS sniper on the Eski Mosul frontline. On Thursday, his body was repatriated to Rojava and was buried in a village near the town of Tirbespî.

Unless a new power-sharing agreement is reached between Rojava’s rival parties, it is unlikely that the Rojava Peshmerga will ever fight in northern Syria.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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