KURDWATCH DOCU APRIL 2013 / FUNDING MEETINGS BETWEEN SALIH MUSLIM (PYD) & ENVOYS OF ASSAD REGIME IN 2011
Syrian Arab Republic – Army and Armed Forces – Leadership of the Air Force and Air Defense – Administration of the Air Force Intelligence Service – North Division of the Air Force Intelligence Service
Date 11/3/2011 – To the Director of the Air Force Intelligence Service
In the course of our surveillance of the chairman of the so-called DemocraticUnion (PYD), Salih Muslim Muhammad, one of our informants sent us the following information: About four days ago, in the presence of our informant, Salih Muhammad met with Dr. Rafiq Salih, director of the Syrian-based agricultural research institute ACSAD, at the restaurant »Mudun al – Bahr« at the Victoria Bridge in Damascus.
This meeting had been set for about twenty days in an attempt by the doctor (Rafiq) to convince Salih [Muslim Muhammad] to participate in the National Dialogue. The two spoke about the situation in Syria, whereby Dr. Rafiq presented a memorandum (regarding an official meeting of one hundred university professors with the President) that Salih Muhammad quickly and inattentively skimmed and then passed on to the informant for inspection. Dr. Rafiq called upon Salih Muhammad to take part in the National Dialogue and asked him about the position of the National Coordination Committee [meaning the National Union of the Forces for Democratic Change], represented by Hasan ʿAbdulʿazim.
The chairman of the socalled Democratic Union answered that the coordination committee was in favor of a change of the regime, but not its overthrow. After Dr. Rafiq inquired about the meaning of this statement, Salih Muhammad responded that the President must step down and the army and security forces must withdraw from all Syrian cities and return to their barracks and positions, because no dialogue is possible at gunpoint. Furthermore, he said that the people must state their opinion.
He explained that the committee represents five Kurdish parties, ten other parties, and groups of very different orientations and that this position is not only his own. He would only enter into the dialogue with the agreement of the coordination committee so as not to expose himself. He added that he would try to convince the Kurdish parties in the coordination committee to support him in developing ideas for a solution to the crisis and participation in the National Dialogue.
He further stated that after stepping down, the President could again stand for election. He would then vote for no one else and would spare no effort in convincing the Kurds to vote for the President, because the President is the best person for Syria, and especially for the Kurds.
A resignation would thus only serve to end the crisis. That is what he meant by change, not overthrow, because an overthrow would be the result of external intervention from abroad.
He said that he is against foreign intervention and not for violence or interdenominational strife. He also made political comments to the effect that the state needs to recognize the Kurds and that they cannot remain marginalized in Syria. As an example, he cited that in the committee for the development of the constitution, there is only one Kurdish member (attorney ʿIsmat Usi), who is not competent enough for this task.
He expressed the desire that the President select him for the task, this would make a difference. Moreover, he criticized the committee. He said
that the decree regarding its establishment gives the committee complete freedom to consult with any party or person. To date, however, neither he himself nor other high-ranking Syrian-Kurdish figures have been approached, nor any organizations, not even those that have a positive stance towards the Assad family. He said that the reforms were de facto incorrectly implemented and the state took its time with them. The situation in Syria continues to worsen. He said that in the coordination committee, one tries (insofar as the state gives one responsibilities and opportunities) to involve members of the Council of Istanbul [meaning the Syrian National Council], because the opposite is to be feared [meaning the further deepening of the split between the Syrian National Council and the coordination committee] if the situation in Syria stays the same or escalates.
He is against the Council of Istanbul and all foreign opposition groups, because they only carry out foreign agendas. He said that the coordination committee is being pressured, both domestically and from abroad, with the accusation that it is a henchman of the regime, to which he said verbatim: »We are not henchmen of the regime. As a result of the accusations, we are losing our credibility with the Syrian people. It is true that we maintain strategic relationships with the regime,but we are not a tool in the hands of the Syrians. I maintain intensive relationships with the PKK and am in constant contact with Murat Karayılan.
A strategic relationship with the regime will force it [the regime] to support us in order to take action against Turkey. I emphasize that we are not, as some contend, a tool in the hands of the Syrians against Turkey.« Dr. Rafiq then responded: »We as a state trust the Kurds, their national sentiments, and their love for Syria. This arises from our support of their confrontation with the Turkish state. The Kurds were and are a part of the national community. The President insists on the reforms and their continued implementation, more than the Syrian people and the world expect. I ask you to support the dialogue. There is someone there who would like to meet you.« Muhammad agreed, regardless of whether the person was a political figure or a representative of the security forces. »No matter what, I will consult with my colleagues in this regard.«
At this point, the discussion was ended by the arrival of Dr. Faʾiz Dawud from Homs and Dr. Ahmad Basim al – ʿAli from Dayr az – Zawr (both are university professors, Dawud has American citizenship).
The next day another meeting took place in Dr. Rafiq Salih’s office in the presence of our informant. This meeting was better and more relaxed than the previous meeting, but was very short. Salih [Muslim Muhammad] promised that a further meeting would proceed in a more positive manner after conferring with the coordination committee. On the evening of that same day, Salih Muslim Muhammad met with members of the committee in Hasan ʿAbdulʿazim’s office. At the request of Salih [Muslim Muhammad], our informant could not attend this meeting, because none of those present from the coordination committee were supposed to recognize him.
Salih [Muslim Muhammad] reported to our informant by telephone that things were developing favorably with respect to the conversation with Dr. Rafiq and that he would share the details with him following his return from Cairo. Aside from that, Salih [Muslim Muhammad] asked our informant on the phone not to contact him again before his departure to Cairo and to communicate with the Democratic Union via his wife, ʿAʾishah Afandi, and ʿIsmat Shaykh Hasan so that the informant keeps his distance from the political environment in ʿAyn al ʿArab for reasons that Salih [Muslim Muhammad] refused to explain on the phone.
With the request to inspect Major General Adib Namir Salamah Director of the North Division of the Air Force Intelligence Service
[signature and stamp]
– the Comrade Party Leader of Aleppo
– the North Leadership
– the Director of Division 290 with the request to inspect and take note
– the Director of Division 322
– the ʿAyn al – ʿArab Group
– the ʿAfrin Group