Syrian Kurds-Arab Opposition Discuss Ceasefire In Serekaniye / With Michael Kilo

09/02/2013 RUDAW By ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC) wants a joint civil administration under its guardianship, the removal of all armed elements and free travel between Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) as conditions for a ceasefire in the war-stricken city, Kurdish sources said.

On Tuesday, the KSC leadership held a meeting with a delegation from the Syrian opposition in thenortheastern Syrian city to end fighting between the Kurds and the larger — mostly-Arab —  opposition to the Damascus regime.

The Arab delegation, led by the prominent Syrian opposition figure Michel Kilo, arrived in Serekaniye under the name of The National Committee for Civil Peace Protection to discuss the fighting between rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and forces of the Kurdish Popular Protection Committees (YPG). According to a statement by the KSC, the Kurdish side wants a joint civil administration, formed by the residents of Serekaniye and overseen by the KSC, to guarantee peace in the city. It also wants a commitment to withdraw all armed elements from the city, and freedom of transportation to and from Serekaniye, after displaced families have been compensated. Ismail Hame, a member of the KSC who took part in the peace talks, said that negotiations between the two sides are ongoing.  Fighting also has been suspended during the talks.

“We are trying to find a proper mechanism to force the armed groups to implement the potential agreement of holding a permanent ceasefire and withdraw from Serekaniye,” Hame told the Khabar 24 website. 

He said that the KSC is waiting for orders to start implementing the plan.

“We reassured them that the agreement will even be applicable to the entire Kurdish region in Syria, and Serekaniye will be the starting point,” Hame added.

Regarding the future of the YPG, Hame said that the KSC is looking into transforming it into an institution that would play an effective role in preserving civil peace in the Kurdish areas and fill the security vacuum after the fall of the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, Kilo expressed hope that the meeting would help end the fighting in Serekaniye.“This meeting should be a serious step towards the restoration of peace to this city and end the misery of its residents,” Kilo told Asharq Alawsat newspaper on Wednesday. “No one in Syria wants for this unjustifiable fight in Serekaniye to continue, and we must take immediate action to solve the current rift; otherwise, we would never be able to get rid of the nightmare of civil war.”

He also said: “The Assad regime can only be overthrown in Damascus, not in Serekaniye, and the rebels should understand that.”

Massoud Akko, a prominent Kurdish activist and member of the Syrian Journalists Association, told Rudaw that there is no real will for an actual agreement with regard to Serekaniye’s crisis.  “I think there is no real intention by none of the sides involved in Serekaniye to reach an effective solution,” Akko said. He added that the presence of radical Islamist groups fighting in Serekaniye for unidentified goals is worsening the situation there. 

“Those armed groups don’t represent any of the popular revolution’s principles and values such as freedom and human dignity,” Akko told Rudaw.  Meanwhile, the Arab Revolutionary-Military Council in Hasaka province – an armed group claiming to be affiliated with the FSA – issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the council refuses any Kurdish domination in Serekaniye.

“The opposition Coalition must be the only political force in charge of decision-making across the country, and the Free Syrian Army the only military power,” the statement read. According to observers, the statement aims to undermine any efforts to solve the crisis in Serekaniye and will most likely reinforce the division in the area between the Arabs and Kurds.  “I believe that the statement issued by the military council in Hasake clearly indicates the unwillingness to reach an agreement and end the violence in Serekaniye,” Akko argued.