‘Kurdish demand of federalism in Syria is refused': SNC member

ARA News – Exclusive 

Gaziantep, Turkey− Bassam Yusuf is one of the few Alawite members in the General Assembly of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC). He talked to ARA News about the Coalition’s vision on some Syrian and Kurdish issues. 

Yusuf commented on the SNC-led Interim Government and the absence of a Ministry of Interior in the government, saying: “No Ministry of Interior can be established without on-ground capacities. We need police to implement the decrees of the such a ministry, as well as judicial centers and prisons. Currently, we do not have that, as the army does not follow of the Ministry of Interior and the armed groups are affiliated with the General Staff (of the Free Syrian Army).”

Talking about renewing passports for Syrians living abroad, Yusuf stated to ARA News: “It is not a decision made by the Coalition (SNC) or the Interim Government. It rather depends on the International Community’s recognition of these two bodies. We received the approval of France and Turkey on the legality of these passports. We aspire for the approval of other Friends of Syria states.”

Syrian activists have recently launched a campaign against the SNC President, Ahmad Jarba, under the banner of “Anti-Corruption Campaign”, demanding Jarba to step down after the rebels lost battles in Syria’s Yabroud against the regime. 

“I wish we have a campaign against corruption. However, this campaign lacks proper evidences and documents,” Yusuf argued. 

Yusuf also gave his opinion about the military operations and the Coalition’s capacities in this regard, stating: “SNC’s capacities to lead the military operations inside Syria are limited. Consequently, the Coalition will not be able to end or support the battles, or even take critical decisions when the military troops (of FSA rebels) languish or superpowers abstain from providing the required weapons.”

Yusuf admits that the Syrian National Coalition is unable to control some fighting factions on the ground. After constituting the new General Staff, the Coalition attempts to unite all these factions under its wing. Then “We can hold the Coalition responsible for its fronts”.

Regarding the battles in the Syrian coastal region, Yusuf said: “It is very important now that the coast is under the control of the Free Syrian Army as to expel the idea of separation reinforced by the regime. It will also shake the residents’ (Alawite majority) faith in the regime’s ability to protect them.”

However, Yusuf expressed his worries that these battles turn into a sectarian conflict, blaming Al Mohesini, the Saudi herald who fights with al-Nusra Front, for his sectarian speech against Alawites in Kasab.

Kurdish Issue in Syria 

Addressing the Kurdish representation in the Coalition, Yusuf justified not delivering any ministry to the Kurdish National Council (KNC), saying that discussions about the Government formation preceded the KNC’s decision to join the Coalition.

“It should not be quotas government, but rather a technocratic one. No considerations of ethnic, religious or political affiliation are held; Alawites also do not receive any ministry as well as other components of the Syrian society,” he stated. “We cannot include representatives of all social components in the Interim Government of Geneva delegation. It is unreasonable to send a delegation to Geneva (peace talks) comprising all Syrian components.  The criteria here should only be the qualifications.”

Yusuf emphasized the refusal of the SNC to the Kurds’ proposal of Federation and political decentralization.

“Such proposals cannot be submitted during revolution. The Syrian people should decide on the state form after the regime falls and via establishing a constituent assembly that will decide on the state form and constitution in Syria. Only then, we can submit such proposals to the assembly. Such proposals in the meantime tend to weaken the revolution, whether initiated by Kurds, Alawites or Druze.” 

According to Yusuf, the form of the post-Assad Syrian state “depends on how the crisis will end. If with a unified national agreement and a cohesive society, we will choose the most developing form. Probably, the decentralized government would be the most convenient. While if we ended up with a completely destroyed country, we would not choose the separation, because decentralized governments could only emerge in healthy countries.”

PYD Deemed Anti-revolution Force

The Syrian National Coalition described the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as an anti-revolution force, as the PYD-lined armed forces (Popular Protection Units YPG) fought against some SNC-linked rebel forces in northern Syria. 

According to the member of the SNC’s General Assembly, Bassam Yusuf, the Coalition did not precipitate when described the PYD as “anti-revolution” force. He thinks that the Coalition depended in its judgment upon the party’s practices against Syrian and Kurdish citizens.

“Since the start of the revolution, the PYD distressed some revolutionary figures and preventing some anti-Assad protests,” Yusuf told ARA News. “The Coalition wanted all Kurdish parties to be represented under its umbrella, even the PYD itself. However this party preferred to coordinate with the Assad regime instead.”

Commenting on some Western officials’ statement that “the crisis in Syria will last for five to ten years”, Yusuf said: “That’s unfortunately true, because we do not have one strong opposition body to end the war. The external actors draw the war track. We as Syrians should put an end to that. We are the sole victims, not the international actors nor the regime whose main concern is holding power.”

Concluding this exclusive interview with ARA News, Yusuf said: “I hope we can highlight the Kurdish issue more often. We should not only concentrate on the separation issue. Syria has not been a real state since the French occupation. After a short period of national governance, the Baath Party came. Therefore, we should create the opportunity to build the healthy democratic civil state, and then we can decide, as Syrian people, how to live with each other. It is unfair to talk only about the Kurdish problem. All other Syrian components, including Christians, Alawites, Druze and Ismailies, have problems with the regime as well.”


Interviewed by: Ali Isso

Source: ARA News


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