MESOP TODAYS OPINION BY : Robin Yassin-Kassab / The United front – SDF & the PYD (PKK) – Al Araby 23 Feb 2016

MESOP TODAYS OPINION BY : Robin Yassin-Kassab / The United front – SDF and the PYD (PKK) – Al Araby 23 Feb 2016

….. So the PYD’s gamble is likely to backfire. Its current approach is criminally stupid, and for that many must bear the blame. Certainly the ‘official’ opposition could have done much more early on to assure Kurds of their right to autonomy, at least to remove the ‘Arab’ from ‘Syrian Arab Republic’.  Too many, particularly those of the older generation who adhere to traditional political models, continue to worship the notion of a strongly centralised (and Arabist) state. But still the Kurdish National Council, repressed in Rojava, is incorporated into the Syrian opposition’s coalition, and a Kurd, Abdel Baset Sida, once led the Syrian National Council.
There are plenty of Kurds in the Free Syrian Army as well as in the Islamist battalions. All over the country Kurds work alongside Arabs in civil activism.

It’s a grave mistake to equate the PYD with the Syrian Kurds in general, who are a people as diverse in opinion as any other. Even IS boasts a large Kurdish contingent. The leader of the attack on Kobani was a Kurd.

The hope lies with those Syrian revolutionaries, Arab, Kurd, Turkmen, Syriac, who stand and fight in mutual solidarity.

Robin Yassin-Kassab is co-author, with Leila al-Shami, of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, and author of The Road From Damascus, a novel.

Books he has contributed to include Syria Speaks, Shifting Sands, and Beta-Life: Stories from an A-Life Future. His book reviews and commentary have appeared in the Guardian, the National, Foreign Policy,the Daily Beast and others, and he often comments on Syria on TV and radio. He blogs at and