By SIRWAN KAJJO – Jerusalem Post – 10/16/2012 – Syrian Kurds will likely abandon the position they have adopted throughout the uprising: remaining peaceful during the revolution. For the first time in Syria’s 19-month uprising, there have been explosions in the Kurdish regions. Although the target was not civilian, Kurdish parties realize that their relatively calm regions have already slipped into the swamp of violence their fellow Syrians have been experiencing for long months now.
The Qamishli explosion occurred at the headquarters of regime security forces in the city. Eight Syrian soldiers were killed and dozens more wounded, including a few civilian passersby. The car bomb also damaged nearby residential buildings.
The state media, as always, accused terrorists of committing “this act of sabotage.”
However, the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the bombing. A high-ranking commander of FSA said, “This attack was the first of many that will target government sites in this [Kurdish] region.”
In addition to FSA and regime forces, there are other elements that would be part of a looming conflict. Armed men affiliated with Democratic Union Party (PYD) have already taken control of several areas of the city as well as other Kurdish towns. The PYD and FSA evidently don’t get along. Several incidents occurred in Aleppo and Efrin (north) showed the growing tensions between the two sides. Observers believe that similar clashes might occur in Qamishli, where the FSA’s presence is surprisingly increasing.
The reason for this tension is mutual accusations. PYD, which is close to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), strongly opposes any kind of FSA presence in the Kurdish regions. Leaders of the Kurdish party claim the FSA, backed by Turkey, wants to be stationed in the Kurdish north to facilitate possible future Turkish control of the area. In contrast, the FSA claims that the Kurdish regions are good launching points for attacks on the Syrian regime.
The Qamishli attack not only indicates an expansion of Syria’s civil war, but also illustrate other complexities in this part of the war-torn country.
The Kurdish National Council (KNC), an umbrella for several Syrian Kurdish parties, strongly condemned the bombing and accused the Assad regime of executing the attack. KNC’s statement said the regime strives to drag the Kurds into the current conflict as an attempt to plunge the Syrian revolution into a more sectarian dispersion.
The two main political bodies representing Syrian Kurds (Kurdish National Council and People’s Defense of West Kurdistan) met in Iraqi Kurdistan last month. Under direct supervision of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraqi Kurdistan, they signed a memorandum of understanding, known as Erbil Agreement, resulting in the creation of the Supreme Kurdish Commission in Syria. The newly-established commission is the first ever attempt at unification among Syria’s Kurds. It allows Kurdish forces to rigidly stand in the face of any threat, internal or external, against the Kurdish population of Syria.
Furthermore, the commission has announced preparations for an autonomous region in the northern part of the country.
With this in mind, Syrian Kurds will likely abandon the position they have adopted throughout the uprising in the country: remaining peaceful during the revolution. Having armed men of the PYD already, Kurdish political forces seem to be making a major shift in its political mechanism toward the new dynamics.
The writer is a Syrian Kurdish journalist based in Washington, DC. He is a freelance writer and also a co-founder of the Kurdish Review, a monthly publication based in Washington, DC.