Kurdish Parties Remain Cautious of Syrian National Coalition

19/12/2012 RUDAW By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—After they held several meetings in Qamishlou on the issue, Syrian Kurdish leaders say they have not decided yet whether to join the newly established Syrian National Coalition.

However, Nasraddin Ibrahim, a senior member of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) told Rudaw that his council will send a delegation to convey Kurdish demands to SNC before making a final decision. The Arab League as well as major western countries such as France and the United States have recognized the SNC as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This international recognition enticed Kurdish political parties to join this coalition.

Abdulhakim Bashar, secretary general of Al Party fears that in the future the Kurds will be sidelined if they boycott the SNC.

“If the Kurds remain out of the NCS, they would not be partners in the Syrian revolution and the Kurdish voice will become mute,” he said. “Today there are ongoing efforts to topple the Syrian regime and democratize Syria, the Kurds need to participate in these efforts.”Bashar who was KNC’s first president says that Kurds have to step forward and make their demands clear. “If we choose to remain in our houses and do not put our demands on the table, no one will give us our rights,” he said. Bashar’s Al-Party along with the Kurdish Freedom Party (AZADI) and the Kurdish Union Party are the main advocates for a merger with the SNC.

Meanwhile other parties, as the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish Left Party remain the main opponents of joining the SNC. “We as Kurds cannot join the SNC because we agreed in Erbil not to join any groups that do not have a clear stance towards the Kurdish issue or recognize the Kurdish Council as the representative of the Kurds,” says Muhammad Musa, president of the Left Party. For his party however, Bashar doesn’t think the SNC will accept the Kurdish National Council as the legitimate representative of the Kurds “because PYD is part of it and the SNC considers the PYD to be part of the Syrian regime.”

PYD leaders refuse to join the SNC and describe it as a tool in the hands of the Turkish government. Nevertheless, Ilham Ahmed, a PYD member of the KNC admits that establishing the SNC in Qatar last month was a step in the right direction for the Arabs. “For the first time the majority of the Syrian opposition groups were able to gather in one group,” he says. “This is a sign of accepting one another.” Ahmed said that the SNC’s refusal to answer the Kurdish demands until after the fall of Assad’s regime is an excuse the Kurds aren’t willing to buy. “The SNC says they will not take any decisions regarding the Kurdish rights before the collapse of the Syrian regime because that is the duty of the parliament,” says Ahmed. “Who can accept this? Only an ignorant will accept this logic.”