|Kurdish Leader Stresses US Supports Terror Groups in Syria|
In an interview with JerusalemOnline, Syrian Kurdish leader Sherkoh Abbas condemns supporting the PYD until they renounce their ties to the PKK, which is recognized internationally as a terrorist organization. He stresses that there are other Kurdish groups the west should support instead.
Oct 21, 2014, 05:55PM | Rachel Avraham
In an interview with JerusalemOnline, Sherkoh Abbas, chairman of the Kurdish National Assembly of Syria (Kurdnas), stressed that the US is making a mistake by supporting the PYD in Syria because they are linked to the PKK, which the United States, EU and their allies considers to be a terrorist organization. “It is wrong for the US not to support the Kurds and we welcome the recent shift in US policy but they need to support the right people in Syria who want a federal model, democracy, human rights and not people who are against those values. The US always chooses the wrong people, whether the Islamists or people they themselves call terrorists.”
Sherkoh emphasized that the PKK-linked PYD does not only pose a threat to Turkey, but also to the Kurdish people. He explained that the PYD does not permit the Kurdistan National Assembly and the Kurdish National Council to have their own people operate in Syria and does not allow any other entity to operate unless linked to them or the regime: “Maybe because we have share western values of democracy, human rights and are aligned with the Kurdish street.”
Additionally, the PKK opposes Kurdish independence and federalism, the two models supported by the vast majority of Syria’s Kurds. PYD waves PKK flags and supports jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who believes a Kurdish state should be formed in Turkey in the past and now opposes any Kurdish independence or federalist movement in Syria, Iraq, and Iran in order not to offend the Assad regime, whom the PKK views to be an ally.
“The PYD have a lot of explaining to do,” Sherkoh emphasized. “Why does the PYD support the existence of cantons? Why are they still working with the regime? Why are they still working with the PKK and its leader? If they are willing to change their behavior and Stalinist mentality and support federalism in Syria per the Kurdish street and not work with the PKK or Assad, it will make it easier for the international community to work with the Syrian Kurds. Most of the people fighting aren’t PYD. They are people trying to preserve their lands, homes, and families but the force supported by Assad is the PYD and it’s leadership.” Sherkoh stresses that most of the Kurds who join the PYD do so because they view it as the lesser evil when compared to ISIS, who “chops peoples’ heads off,” but it is not because it is their preferred choice or because it supports their vision.
“9 out of 10 Syrian Kurds want federalism if not outright independence,” Sherkoh noted. “It is only the PYD who has no reference to Kurdishness in their names; they tried to change the name of Kurdistan in Syria to Rojava (west). They try to please the regime by splitting the Kurdish area into three cantons. In 1995, Ocalan stated Kurds should be grateful to Assad for hosting them and one million Kurds have now fled Syrian Kurdistan on their watch. The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq (KRG)’s Peshmerga wanted to help in Kobane, but was forced to come through Turkey which made it impossible because the Turks refused.” He believes that the PYD placed this obstacle in the way of the KRG because if they came, it would loosen their grip on power and could cause clashes with the Assad regime in Kamishly.
“I hope that they prove us wrong and delink themselves from the PKK and Assad,” Sherkoh emphasized. “At the same time, when they ask for independence or at least a federal Syria and allow all Kurds to work in Syrian Kurdistan freely, then they can be supported in the struggle against ISIS. Until then, the US should support Kurdnas and the KNC. There are many leaders in the PYD that are trying to change the organization from within, but there are key people within the PYD who are blocking this because they aren’t Syrian Kurds and have allegiances to the PKK. Those people don’t allow the Syrian Kurds to flourish like in Iraqi Kurdistan. The PYD needs to show they are not against the US, the west, Israel and don’t support terror. More importantly, they need to work within the Kurdish front. Then, they can be supported. Those who don’t should not be supported.”