Syrian Opposition Chief: Kurdish Autonomy ‘Useless’ and Will Not Last’

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – RUDAW – 8.2.2014 –  The interim prime minister of the main Syrian opposition, Ahmed Touma, said that the autonomous Kurdish region declared by the Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD) is “useless” and will “come to an end” once Bashar Assad’s regime is ousted.

Touma told Rudaw in a recent interview that his Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC) does not recognize the autonomous areas established by the PYD, which recently declared self-administered “cantons” in Cizire, Kobani and Afrin.”We disregard the actions of PYD,” Touma said. “The announcement of the three cantons is useless. The PYD does not represent Kurds and their actions are politically driven. In particular, the announcements came only a day before the Geneva II Conference,” he said.

The PYD, the major force in Syria’s Kurdish regions, or Rojava, was not invited to last month’s Geneva II Conference, despite its power and considerable local support. Touma warned that the PYD “project” will come to an end once the Syrian revolution succeeds in removing Assad’s regime, because he claimed that the PYD’s rival Kurdish National Council was the true representative of the majority of Syria’s Kurds.

“Their (PYD’s) project will end with the triumph of the revolution and the removal of the Syrian regime,” he said.”The Kurdish National Council represents most of the Kurds and it is part of the Syrian Opposition, which attended the Geneva II Conference,” Touma added. “Kurds are part of the Syrian people and their rights, which have been deprived for many decades, will be preserved,” he promised.

Touma said that the interim government of the Syrian opposition will try to extend to the areas currently ruled by the PYD. He promised it “will provide services such as health and education, and of course the government will be in cooperation with the Kurdish National Council in this regard.”

Touma added that his SNC is ready to participate in the second round of the Geneva II negotiations because of some successes in the first round. “The first round of negotiations was successful in forcing the Syrian regime to agree to implement the recommendation of the Geneva I conference,” Touma said.

“We managed to convince the Syrian regime to agree to implement the recommendations of Geneva I and to start negotiations on forming a provisional board to run the affairs of the state of Syria,” Touma told Rudaw. “This means the fall of the Syrian regime, including Bashar Assad, has started.”

“We are very optimistic that the next round of negotiations will be more fruitful,” said Touma. “Despite the regime’s efforts to avoid the issues, we will participate in the second round of negotiations in order to form a provisional administration in accordance with the Geneva recommendations, which were supported by the international community, including Russia.” Touma said that the opposition delegation was in Geneva to tell the world that it felt responsible “for fulfilling the dream of the Syrian people for democracy and freedom.”

“At Geneva II we reiterated that we are for a political solution despite the efforts of the regime delegation to divert the conference from its main agenda,” he said.

Despite the opposition’s willingness to attend the conferences, said Touma, the talks cannot remain open-ended.”Negotiations will not be open ended,” he said. “Negotiations will have to end in three months. In case of not reaching an agreement, we will approach the Security Council to tell of the side that disrupts negotiations, which is the Syrian regime.” According to Touma, as international efforts and negotiations continue, the Syrian opposition continues its two-pronged agenda inside Syria. “We are making concerted efforts to provide services in the fields of health, education, and services for the Syrian people in all parts of Syria without any discrimination,” he claimed.”Concerning the Free Syrian Army (FSA), we are reorganizing the army through the (interim) defense ministry in order to continue fighting until all Syria is freed,” he said.