Muslim: Rebuilding & resistance will go hand in hand – Salih Muslim said the victory in Kobanê had been won by the organisation and struggle of the Kurdish people.

Wednesday, February 4, ANF – News desk -PYD Co-president Salih Muslim said the victory in Kobanê had been won by the organisation and struggle of the Kurdish people. He emphasised that the threat of ISIS continued, and that reconstruction and resistance would go hand in hand.

Salih Muslim spoke to Osman Oğuz from the Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper.

First of all, a significant victory has been won in Kobanê city. What created this victory?

Our Kurdish people. You know how devoted the people of Kobanê are to their land and honour. In places in Kurdistan where there was no organisation there were defeats, but now in Kobanê we have organisation. The resistance in Kobanê is a turning point.

The people resisted and earned a significant victory. But how will Kobanê be rebuilt? What will happen at the front?

A committee has been set up in Kobanê for reconstruction, but at the same time the resistance will continue. ISIS has withdrawn from Kobanê, but it is still in Rakka and in other places. While they exist they can be used by enemies of the Kurdish people. They are a tool. Thus, the resistance will definitely continue.

Diplomacy is also continuing. You have just come back from Moscow. Could you tell us about the meeting that took place there?

The meeting in Moscow was different to other conferences that have taken place, like the one in Geneva, in that there was no set agenda. Anyone could raise any matter they wished. However, most of what the regime wanted was accepted. Some opposition circles did not attend, but it was a good start and hopefully will continue.

We said that since 1946 structural mistakes have been made, a reality that everyone should accept. The regime, too, needs to accept this.

What is the regime’s approach to the Kurdish people’s demands for national and democratic rights? It claims that these demands have already been met?

In practice this is a lie. But it is good that this is being discussed. Previously no one talked about this, but now they listen to me. We will discuss this for sure.

What is your approach to the regime? In general when there is a discussion of Syria’s future the emphasis is on whether Assad should stay or go…

It is wrong to tie everything to one person. If you make such a pre-condition it means you are not interested in peace and do not want dialogue. They have been saying for 4 years that they will overthrow Assad. And you see the result: devastation.

So you are not insisting that Assad go?

Our aim is regime change. We do not accept a continuation of the old chauvinist Ba’athist regime. But it is a reality that if Assad doesn’t go in 6 months he will go in 1 year. He should not have a function.

Russia is a significant actor as regards Syria. How does Russia view your demands?

Russia claims it is neutral, and we wish to believe this. We want Russia to be alongside the people of Syria.

In particular after the attack on Charlie Hebdo the ISIS threat is top of the agenda in Europe. What do you think led to the emergence of ISIS as a mentality and as a military force?

ISIS says things such as: “We will establish a caliphate”. They say this to deceive the population of the Middle East, who are mainly Moslem. This is unfeasible in the 21st century. If an organisation emerges with such a claim, there must be something behind it. The same goes for organisations like Al-Nusra. They are all tools, and know nothing except destruction.

Whose tool?

A combination of two sides. Firstly, there are forces who live in Kurdish regions who do not accept their presence and cannot stomach the democratic unity of the Kurds. Secondly, there are the remnants of the old despotic regimes that do not want democracy. They use organisations like ISIS.

Do you mean that they have infiltrated ISIS and are directing it?

Yes, for instance in Iraq there are at least 80 officers from the old Ba’athist regime working under the guise of ISIS.