Syrian Kurds Agree on Forming Joint Military Council

“The problem of this agreement is that the PYD agrees every time, but when they go back to Syria they do not implement it,” Sayda said.

25/11/2012 RUDAW By WLADIMIR van WILGENBURG – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syrian Kurdish leaders have agreed on forming a joint military council for northeastern Syria, otherwise known as Western Kurdistan.

The agreement came after representatives of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC) met in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Ismail Hama, Secretary-General of the Kurdish Union Party, told Rudaw that despite some obstacles in the course of the talks, they agreed to “Work to establish a military council. So we hope that this agreement is implemented on the ground.”

According to Hama, the PYD has agreed to bring its armed wing, the People’s Defense Units (YPG) under the control of the Supreme Kurdish Council and that they will accept Peshmargas—defected Kurdish soldiers from the Syrian army—in their ranks.  An earlier agreement signed in Erbil in the summer between all parties had failed to unite armed groups in the Kurdish areas of Syria where regime forces have largely withdrawn since July.

Kurdish leaders accused the PYD of breeching the Erbil agreement and not allowing hundreds of Kurdish defectors trained in the Kurdistan Region into its military wing. Sirwan Kajjo, a Kurdish journalist based in Washington DC told Rudaw “Most likely, there’s an agreement between the PYD and KNC to at least let in the Kurdish defectors in Syria.”

The head of PYD’s People’s Council of West Kurdistan, Abdel-Salam Ahmed told Al Kurdiyya News that the aim of this new military council is to “Protect the Kurdish areas.” Ahmed pointed out that the army is open to all young Kurdish volunteers, and that all the armed groups would come under the new Kurdish army, “which will not be affiliated to any particular political party.”

Hama maintained that the Kurdish parties are expected to meet Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani to finalize the agreement. Representatives of the parties signing this understanding admit that there are still disagreements to overcome. But Sipan Sayda, a close associate of the Syrian National Council (SNC), believes it is unlikely that those disagreements would go away easily.

“The problem of this agreement is that the PYD agrees every time, but when they go back to Syria they do not implement it,” Sayda said. “The KNC follows the agenda of the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the PYD of Assad. This is not going to work.” Meanwhile, Talal Ibrahim Pasha, from the Foreign Relations Committee of the KNC told Rudaw that disagreement among parties is a “natural thing”. “Step by step it will be implemented,” he said. “I personally think the agreement is positive from all sides, since it prevented a conflict from happening. I think on the political, social and financial side the cooperation was good, just on the military and security side there were some disagreements on some areas.”

Others believe that this new agreement between the PYD and the KNC could be the result of SNC’s failure to include Kurdish demands in its agenda for Syria’s future. Abdulhakim Bashar, head of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria said on Saturday that the KNC did not reach any decision to join the National Coalition recently formed in Qatar.