By Nidal al-Laithi – Iraqi Azzaman – news agency, azzaman.com | al-monitor.com
28.2.2013 – Asya Abdullah, the co-chairwoman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is described by dissidents and Kurds as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), said that Syria’s Kurds have established self-autonomies in Kurdish areas in Syria that are under their control.
From her current location in Iraqi Kurdistan, Abdullah told Azzaman on Monday [Feb. 25] that problems in Syria — even under a new government after the fall of the current regime — will only be solved if the Kurds obtain their rights under the new constitution. She added, “We have formed popular councils, relief committees and established branches of the Red Crescent in the areas of Derik, Amuda, Asran and other cities under our control.” She said that these committees are distributing fuel, running bakeries and providing services in these areas for free.
She added, “We have also formed an Asayish police force, which are known as ‘people protection units’ in western Kurdistan.”Abdullah noted that these units are partially armed and provide security, adding that they are not affiliated with any one Kurdish party and are supervised by the Supreme Kurdish Authority, which encompasses all Kurdish parties.
Regarding the party’s description as the Syrian branch of the PKK, Abdullah told Azzaman, “This is one of the accusations made against us.” She described the PYD as a Kurdish-Syrian political party, noting that “we maintain relations with all Kurdish parties, including the Kurdish parties in northern Iraq.” She wrote off the PYD’s branding as the Syrian branch of the PKK as slander, stressing that [the PYD] is not linked to the PKK. Abdullah said that the PYD is suffering the most from the Syrian regime.
She noted that the connection [to the PKK] was made because of the party’s policies, which differ from the policies and leanings of the Syrian opposition. She said, “We do not collaborate with our aggressors, and we will not stand with the regime.” Abdullah told Azzaman that “clashes, civil war and military confrontations between the regime’s army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have led to a sectarian war.” She continued: “We are not with the FSA, which is not united. We are also not with the regime. We protect and defend our Kurdish areas if they came under any attack.” However, she noted that “our party calls for toppling the regime.”
Abdullah remarked, “We have practically toppled the regime in the areas over which we have taken control.” She said that “the self-autonomies we have established in Kurdish areas in Syria include Arabs and Christians,” adding, “We have not declared a Kurdish state in Syria.”
Regarding dialogue with the Syrian regime, Abdullah said, “There will be no dialogue between us and the regime.” She added, “We would hold dialogue with the regime if the opposition, which we are part of, decides to do so.”
As for the party’s position on forming a new government in Syria after the fall of the regime, Abdullah said: “There will be no government or a solution for the Syrian problem if the Kurds do not obtain their rights, and if these rights are not included in the new Syrian constitution.” In other news, the town of Daraya, which is under siege and mortar, rocket and aircraft shelling, has come to be referred to as Stalingrad, in reference to the Russian city that withstood the German siege during World War II.
According to sources, the city’s residents — including women, children and fighters — have not left the city. The sources added that the forces of President Bashar al-Assad had only advanced 900 meters into Daraya by force of tanks.
Three months ago, the government forces had declared they would take control of Daraya within a day or two, even though a decisive victory still has not been achieved. The fighters in Daraya have threatened the government forces that their next target would be the Mezzeh Air Base near the administrative border of the city of Daraya. In a statement posted online, the opposition military council in Daraya called upon militant factions to support Daraya and try to break the siege on it. The government forces are banking on a shortage of food supplies, medicine and ammunition in Daraya as a final means to get the opposition fighters out of the city.
Assad’s forces killed scores of opposition militants during the latter’s attempt to enter Damascus and take control of Abbasid Square. Sources and witnesses in Damascus told Azzaman that opposition fighters coming from the Damascus countryside tried to enter Damascus last night, but the frontline forces were confronted by a counter-attack, killing scores of them. For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem will visit Tehran after his visit to the Russian capital. Salehi said that Moallem will arrive in Tehran for a brief visit after his visit to the Russian capital Moscow.
Translated by Al monitor from Arabic Azzaman (Iraq)