Kurdish Leader: Syrian Regime Will Stand Until End of Year

1/08/2012 RUDAW  By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Contrary to what other observers have said, the head of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (Azadi) believes the war in Aleppo between President Bashar al-Assad’s troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will decide the fate of Syrian Kurdistan. Mustafa Juma, also a member of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), told Rudaw, “The FSA is preparing for an all-out assault in Aleppo. Some key areas such as Sakhur and Hanano which are on the road to Aleppo have completely fallen to the FSA.”

Juma believes that the fall of Aleppo will lead to the fall of other cities like Raqqa, Der Zor and Hasaka. “The Syrian regime is using all its power in order to prevent the fall of Aleppo, because if Aleppo falls, then the regime must forget about the east of Syria.”

After Damascus, Aleppo is the second most important city in Syria and considered the backbone of the country’s economy. Around 700,000 Kurds are believed to be living in Aleppo, almost a quarter of the city’s population.

“The fall of Aleppo means cleansing Syrian Kurdistan from Assad’s regime,” Juma said, calling upon Kurds to unite quickly.

He emphasized the importance of implementing the Erbil Agreement, signed between the Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) and KNC on July 11 to jointly govern Kurdish regions of Syria. Currently, the factions are in disagreement over how to solve the Kurdish issue in Syria. The PYD believes that some sort of autonomy would be sufficient, while the KNC is convinced that federalism is the best course for Syrian Kurds after Assad.

“Federalism is a sought-after option. According to sources close to the decision-making officials in the U.S., Washington and Europe support federalism for Syria,” Juma said, adding that he believes Assad will remain in power until after the American presidential election in November, at which point a new transitional government in Syria will be formed. “Russia and the U.S. are discussing a plan behind the scenes and if the Republican Party wins the presidential election, then this plan will be implemented. The Republicans want the four parts of Kurdistan to become free and to attempt to unite Kurdistan,” he said. Juma went on to say that Russia admits in secret meetings that Assad’s regime is bound to fall and are trying to protect their interests in the U.S.

“The FSA cannot topple Assad with war,” Juma said, explaining why the regime would stand until after the U.S. election, when the plan would be implemented.

The FSA has threatened the PYD and vowed to terminate their presence in Kurdish areas of Syria where they have taken control with the recent retreat of Assad’s forces.But Juma said, “The FSA does not plan to enter the Kurdish regions of Syria. They have no choice but to respect the Kurds and avoid a conflict with them. However, he added, “If the PYD becomes a political threat in the future, a conflict between them is imminent.”