Kurdish Town in Syria Facing Serious Food Shortages / Under the PYD Administration

02/09/2012 RUDAW  By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Following the withdrawal of official military and security forces from the Kurdish town of Kobane by Bashar Assad’s regime in July, a security and administrative vacuum has surfaced in this town. Food and fuel are in short supply, and an influx of refugees from Aleppo has worsened the situation.”The shortage of bread is the most difficult crisis in Kobane,” writes Welateme website. “Long lines form in front of bakeries and sometimes you still cannot get bread after hours of waiting.”

Kobane’s population is estimated to be 350,000 people, and it is the only town where Syrian government institutions have completely withdrawn.

Mustafa Juma, secretary general of the Kurdish Freedom Party (AZADI), who is also a native of Kobane says, “There is a bread crisis in western Kurdistan, but this problem is more serious in Kobane.”

Juma says the reason for this crisis is that supply routes of flour from Aleppo are under constant attack by either the Syrian military or the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“The incompetent ruling of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), their check points and taking money from those who bring goods into the city, lack of fuel in the ovens, and the refugees coming from Aleppo have all contributed to this bread crisis,” says Juma.

Once the fighting in Aleppo ends, Juma believes, the food crisis in Kobane would be resolved. Education is another looming problem. The new school year is about to start, but the current situation in Kobane has put a major challenge before teachers and students alike.

“This rests with the Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC) and they should have made preparation for the new school year,” says Abdulbaqi Yusuf, PYD member of poltical bureau. “Unfortunately there are many tasks ahead of the KSC that have not been taken care of. This is due to the internal disagreements among the Kurdish political groups which has negatively impacted the performance of KSC.”

According to an agreement signed in Erbil between the PYD and the Kurdish National Council (KNC), the parties were to be responsible for the affairs of Kurdish cities in Syria. But three months on, the groups haven’t played an efficient role in governing their areas of control.

Faisal Yusuf, the leader of KNC says that the Erbil agreement has not been implemented in all the Kurdish areas and he holds the PYD responsible for the failure. Meanwhile, Muhammad Musa, leader of the Kurdish Leftist Party in Syria (KLP), admits that the local administration in Cizre has many shortcomings.

“Things progress very slowly here,” he says. “We need quick steps. The Cizre region needs many things. In terms of administration Kobane is good and Efrin is much better. But Cizre is not organized yet.”

Musa says the KNC was not ready for such a situation. According to Musa, there are around 150,000 government employees in the Kurdish areas of Syria who may soon face their own challenge.

“The Syrian government has been paying the employees their salaries till now, but I believe this will stop in the near future as state institutions have collapsed,” says Musa. In defense of his party, PYD representative in Erbil, Hussein Kocher blames the crisis on the KNC, which he calls disorganized.

“KNC’s work is criticized for its poor quality and they are facing difficulties in forming committees and selecting administrative staff,” Kocher says. “To some degree this has been crippling the performance of the KSC.”

But Nuri Mrimo, a senior official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria, says the KNC has fully honored the Erbil agreement.

“We might have problems selecting security and military staff, but we do not have administrative problems,” he told Rudaw. “We recognize the agreement of Erbil, but obstacles are created in the way of forming joint committees. These obstacles are not ours, they are created by the other side.”