PYD Must Confront Syrian Regime and Support its Overthrow, Says Abdulbasit Sieda

05/08/2012 RUADW By HEMIN KHOSHNAW – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The head of Syria’s largest opposition coalition says the rights and identity of Kurds will be recognized in a new constitution that will be written after President Bashar al-Assad.

On Wednesday, Abdulbaset Sieda, the leader of Syrian National Council (SNC) met with the Kurdish National Council (KNC), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and representatives of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil. The meeting was held to discuss the developments in Syria as rebels in that country battle forces loyal to Assad in Aleppo and other major cities. “In the meeting, Syria’s national unity and territorial integrity were emphasized and we said that the Kurdish question needs to be viewed as part of the Syrian cause in general,” Sieda, a Kurd who was recently selected to head the SNC said in a news conference in Erbil on Friday.

Absent from the meeting was the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which is the dominant force in Western Kurdistan. In recent weeks, Syrian forces withdrew from several Kurdish towns and cities leaving Kurds to a great degree in charge of their affairs. In response to a question by Rudaw reporter as to how the SNC will deal with the PYD, Sieda said, “We are with any party that will abide by the Syrian national project and is loyal to Syria and acknowledges its territorial integrity.”

“Any force that wants to take part in the political process after Assad needs to show that it will confront the Syrian regime and supports its overthrowing. This includes the PYD and other parties,” added Sieda, who before his appointment as the head of SNC was an exiled academic in Sweden.

On his visit to Erbil, Sieda and his SNC team met with Kurdish leaders and visited a camp for Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their country. The delegation also met with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani whom Sieda said had reassured them that the Kurdistan Region will open its doors for all Syrians regardless of their ethnic or religious identity. Commenting on raising the Kurdistan flag in Syria’s Kurdish cities, Sieda said, “Raising Kurdistan flag by Kurds is a way of showing their Kurdish identity and there is no separatist desire. Syrian Kurds support Syria’s territorial integrity.’

But PYD’s strong presence in northeast Syria has alarmed Ankara who considers the group part of the PKK and has threatened to use military force if the group will pose threats to its national security. During his visit to Erbil last week, Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister told Barzani that his country supports the rights of Kurds in Syria but opposes any “activities by the PYD.”

Davutoglu had reportedly told Barzani that cooperation with the PDY is a red line for Turkey. Barzani recently gathered representatives of the PYD and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) in Erbil and helped them strike an agreement to run the Kurdish areas of Syria by a joint administration.