Syria’s Kurds Call on Armed Groups to Unite Under One Army

03/09/2012 RUDAW-  ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Syrian Kurds demand the formation of a united military in the Kurdish areas.

According to activists, this call is logical since the peaceful Syrian anti-regime revolt has now turned into a full-scale war against Damascus. Armed groups first appeared in the Kurdish areas when the Democratic Union Party (PYD) formed the so-called Popular Protection Committees, which set checkpoints between cities and in Kurdish neighborhoods.

Before long a group of defected Syrian soldiers organized their own units in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in order to return to Syrian Kurdistan and fill in any security vacuum that may arise with the fall of Bashar Assad’s regime.

Recently, a video footage of a number of armed Kurdish youth in Qamishlo city appeared on the Internet declaring the formation of the “Azadi” brigade.

The group said that the brutal crackdown of Assad’s forces led them to move from peaceful demonstrations to armed resistance in order to be prepared for worse scenarios that may lie ahead.

But these different armed groups are a source of concern to civilians of the area who fear tensions and chaos in the Kurdish areas. Hence the call for a united military force. Syrian Kurdish writer Hosheng Ouse sees no justification for a united Kurdish army since the Kurdish political parties have already signed the Erbil Agreement and established the Kurdish Supreme Committee.

“A political unification but reckless use of weapons in the Kurdish areas is meaningless,” Ouse wrote. According to Ouse, some Kurdish political parties in Syria have played a role in leading the Kurdish community to militarization “despite the rigid criticism these parties launched against the Syrian revolutionaries and clashes with the pro-Assad forces by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).”

Ouse fears that without a united umbrella under which all groups can work together, the rise of Kurdish-Kurdish tensions is a possible. Jiyan Bedirxan, a leading member of the Kurdish Centre for Legal Studies (YASA), says that emerging Kurdish armed forces need to be subordinate to the Kurdish Supreme Committee.

He considers the formation of any armed force without coordination with the rest of Kurdish forces a danger to the entire Kurdish region in Syria.

“To form a united Kurdish army would be the best way to guarantee the security of the Kurdish areas in Syria, because total withdrawal of Assad’s forces from these areas will leave a security vacuum which has to be dealt with through a high degree of coordination and cooperation between the Kurdish armed forces in order to reassure proper protection of the Kurdish people instead of leaving the door open to other potential scenarios,” Bedirxan told Alkurdiya News. Prominent Kurdish activist Walid Shekho believes an independent leadership is vital for the establishment of a united Kurdish army.

On top of this, Shekho stressed the importance of “opening communication channels with the FSA to reinforce the cooperation between both bodies.”