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 Assad's gov't has lost control in Syrian Kurdistan: PYD Leader Salih Muslum

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Assad's gov't has lost control in Syrian Kurdistan: PYD Leader Salih Muslum  11.7.2012  

Salih Muslum Muhammed, leader of the biggest Kurdish party in Syria (the Democratic Union Party  PYD) and Vice-President of the National Coordination. See Related Links
July 11, 2012

Salih Muslim is leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that is influential in the Kurdish areas of Syria. PYD leaders say they are determined to stop the bloodshed of the Syrian revolution from spilling into Kurdish cities, which has recently caused tension with other groups including supporters of the Kurdish National Council (KNC). Muslim spoke with Rudaw about the current situation in Syria and efforts towards Kurdish unity in the face of the ongoing turmoil.

Q: Recently, Kurdish political parties from Syria met with Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Do you think the meeting will have a positive effect on Kurdish unity in Syria?

Salih Muslim: All Kurds love President Barzani. He deserves everyone’s respect. It is always for good that he invites us to meet. We all know that there are some disagreements between Kurdish political parties in Syria. We met President Barzani for that reason. He wants us to resolve our disagreements. We believe the disagreements have been exaggerated to Barzani so the meeting was an opportunity to explain the truth to him. Without a doubt, the meeting was fruitful.

Q: What were the outcomes of the meeting?

Salih Muslim: I am not going to discuss the details. President Barzani asked us about the current situation in Syrian Kurdistan. In general, the discussions were mostly questions and answers.

Q: Has the office of the Kurdistan Region presidency suggested any solution to unite Kurds in Syria?

Salih Muslim: No, it has not. The presidential staff only asks us to work together and unite our voice.

Q: Do you think, after the meeting with Barzani, Kurdish political parties in Syria will become closer?

Salih Muslim: I believe the meeting will have positive outcomes. Nothing can come between us if we are all honest with each other.

Q: Does the PYD consider itself part of the PKK? Did you consult with the PKK about visiting President Barzani?

Salih Muslim: We told them that we were going to visit President Massoud Barzani and they said that we are in charge in Syrian Kurdistan and can do what is best for our people.

Q: It is said that the PYD has set up a checkpoint in the Efrin area. Don’t you think this will become a barrier to Kurdish unity?

Salih Muslim: No. Why would protecting Kurds be an obstacle? We have checkpoints not only in Efrin, but all over Syrian Kurdistan including in Kobani, Cizre, Derik and Qamishli. The checkpoints protect the roads and villages in Kurdish areas. People feel protected because of these checkpoints so we must thank them for that.

Q: But the Kurdish National Council and your national council previously signed an agreement to eradicate spreading arms in the Kurdish areas.

Salih Muslim: The agreement was mainly for political unity, instead of preventing the spread of arms. None have implemented the points of that agreement.

Q: So you will not remove the checkpoints until the other points of the agreement are implemented?

Salih Muslim: No, that is not the case. I believe having checkpoints is necessary because they protect people from robbers and murderers. We feel obligated to protect our people because the security is unstable as the government has lost control over these areas.

I believe Kurdish political parties understand the necessities of these checkpoints, but they oppose them because they are not part of it. Our door is open for anyone who wants to become part of it. It is foolish to say checkpoints aren’t necessary in this situation. If it was not for these checkpoints, Kurds would have been harassed by the Arabs.

Q: A few days ago, a member of the PYD was killed in Efrin. You overreacted to the incident. Why?

Salih Muslim: He was beheaded. There is no beheading in our culture. We don’t want any Kurds to be harmed. Human life is valuable. It is hard to control yourself when you see your friend has been beheaded. Without a doubt, it is not good to overreact. We regret it. We created a five-member committee from the Kurdish National Council, National Council and an independent member to follow up on this issue and will soon release a statement to the public in this regard.

Q: Will you accept the results released by the committee?

Salih Muslim: Of course. We all should accept the report of the committee.

Q: Riyaz Assad, the spokesperson for the Free Syrian Army, previously told Rudaw that their forces have tried to enter Efrin area, but the PKK has not allowed them to. How long will you plan to prevent them from entering Efrin?

Salih Muslim: It is not the PKK and PYD who have prevented the Free Syrian Army from entering Efrin, it is the people. They want to protect their areas themselves. We don’t want the Free Syrian Army to enter Kurdish villages and give the Syrian military an excuse to wipe them out. It is our duty to protect our people.

The Free Syrian Army is not a coordinated army. It has 100 divisions but they don’t communicate with each other. [Riyaz] Assad might speak on behalf of the Free Syrian Army, but they ignore his statements. It was [Free Syrian Army deputy leader] Malik Kurdi and his force who wanted to enter Efrin, and they have no link to Assad. Some people carry weapons and claim to be part of the Free Syrian Army just to rob people. They hold hostages for ransom in the name of the Free Syrian Army.

Q: Do you expect President Assad’s regime will fall soon?

Salih Muslim: I believe he won’t leave until he kills all of Syria. He might leave when the country is a total mess. The Syrian regime is brutal. We must do whatever we can to prevent it from shedding blood in the Kurdish areas. The regime is preparing to build an Alawi government.

By Hemin Khoshnaw - Rudaw

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