No Agreement Among Syrian Kurds Over Interim Government

RUDAW – HEMIN KHOSHNAW – 21.7.2013 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC) has failed to unite Syria’s quarrelling Kurdish groups and should be replaced with a provisional administration, according to the People’s Council, that was founded as an alternative to the embattled Damascus regime.

“We have submitted the proposal to all political parties in western (Syrian) Kurdistan,” said Abdulsalam Ahmed, co-chair of the People’s Council, adding that reaction to the proposal had been mixed.

“A committee is assigned to prepare an interim constitution. All of these will be discussed with Arabs and Christians,” he said, adding that the mission of the administration would be to make necessary arrangements to elect a legislative body.

 “In order for us to have an effective administration, we need to have agreements with Arabs and Christians,” he said, saying it was time to replace the Erbil-backed Kurdish Supreme Committee. But there is disagreement among the bickering Kurdish groups even over an interim administration. “No one has approached us about forming a provisional administration,” said Muhammed Ismael, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (Al Party). “We have conditions to join the administration,” he said.

Ismael said that, all he knows about the project was that it is backed only by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and dominates control over Syria’s Kurdish regions, placing it at odds with the other Kurdish groups.

“Without the support of Al Party, this project will never succeed,” Ismael warned.

The KSC was meant to unite the PYD with rival Syrian Kurdish groups inside the umbrella Kurdish National Council (KNC), but a year after its formation political disagreements among the Kurdish parties have exacerbated.

Three members pulled out of the KSC after last month’s clashes in the town of Amude between the PYD’s militia forces and supporters of the KNC. That incident was seen as a dangerous sign of a probable conflict among Kurdish parties, raising concern among different groups that some sort of governing body is immediately needed. The United States and the larger Arab Syrian opposition have been unable to intercede to resolve intra-Kurdish differences.

Syria’s Kurds have so far largely stayed out of the fighting between rebel forces and the Damascus regime, insisting they will not join the armed opposition unless Kurds are given assurances of self-rule over their territories after the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“An administration will increase the credibility of western Kurdistan internationally, it will be a problem solver and be able to provide services to citizens,” said Shelal Gedo, Kurdish Left Party representative in Sulaimani.

But Abdulbaqi Yousif, representative of the Kurdistan Union Party, questioned the timing of such a project, his comments illustrating the lack of trust among the Kurdish parties. “The emergence of such ideas goes back to the current situation of Kurds in Syria,” he said, alleging that various groups were trying to distract attention from the Amude incident by raising the issue of an interim government.

“The Al Party tries to take advantage of the unfortunate incidents at Amude, which were committed by the PYD, and by launching discussion over such an idea PYD tries to get over the Amude incidents,” he said. He charged that the PYD was serving PKK interests, and that AI was working on behalf of neighboring Iraq’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). “Establishing an administration requires coordination and cooperation,” he said, lamenting that both were in short supply among Syria’s Kurdish groups.