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President Barzani Slams PYD in Syria, Rejects Autonomy Declaration

By Rudaw 15/11/2013
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Photo: Rudaw
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. Photo: Rudaw

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani accused the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria of “autocracy,” and rejected its unilateral declaration of independence in Syria’s Kurdish northeast.

He said the PYD was missing “a golden opportunity” by trying to hurriedly seize unilateral control over the Syrian Kurdish areas, or Rojava.

“This is autocracy and marginalization of the other Kurdish parties in Rojava.”  Barzani said in a statement. “We only support the steps that have the consensus of all Kurdish parties in Rojava,” he added. “We refuse to deal with unilateral actions.”

On Tuesday, the PYD leadership announced an interim government over Syria’s Kurdish areas in the northeast.  It said Kurdish, Arab and Christian leaders had agreed to turn Rojava into three semi-independent provincial areas, within a larger Kurdish autonomy in the northeast.

Barzani warned that the PYD was driving Syrian Kurds down a dead end.

“There is a serious concern that this golden opportunity will be missed because the (Damascus) regime has not recognized Kurdish rights and on the other hand the Syrian opposition considers PYD as a part of the regime,” said Barzani. “This poses a serious danger for the future of our people.”

PYD leader Salih Muslim has confirmed that Syrian President Bashar Assad would not accept Kurdish autonomy. “This is a step towards a permanent solution for Kurds in Syria,” he said, after the autonomy declaration.  “Assad has always been against autonomy for Kurds and he rejects this, too,” he said.

Barzani, who brokered a 2012 deal in Erbil to forge a united stance among all Kurdish parties, called on the PYD and all other Kurdish groups to return to the terms of that accord.

“Despite our reservations about the PYD’s behavior and actions, we are happy to return to consensus, because autocracy will neither benefit the PYD not the Kurdish people,” Barzani said in his statement.

“The PYD benefited from the agreement, but it did not commit to it. It suppressed other political parties by gunpoint and secretly sided with Bashar Assad’s regime to make itself a solo de facto military force on the ground,” Barzani said without mincing his words.

“I advise all Kurdish parties in Rojava to work for the interest of the Kurdish people and return to the principles of the Erbil agreement, because this is the best option to strengthen the Kurdish position in Syria,” Barzani said. “We will assist you to the best of our ability.”

The Kurdish president also accused the PYD of fighting a war that is not a Kurdish fight, saying that PYD’s clashes, which have taken place against jihadist al-Qaeda forces since last summer, have led to tens of thousands of Kurds fleeing Rojava.

The PYD’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), also clashed in late March with other Kurdish forces in northeast Syria and in the city of Amude, where local residents protested against the arrest of three Kurdish activists by the PYD.

“It was decided that Kurds would not get involved in the internal Syrian war, but PYD got our people into a war that is not in the interest of our people,” Barzani said.

The Syrian opposition alliance has denounced the PYD for the autonomy declaration, branding it an “anti revolution.” Turkey has likewise rejected the PYD’s unilateral control of the Syrian Kurdish regions.

Barzani also denounced PYD for banning the Kurdistan flag in Rojava.


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Atheist | 15/11/2013
Not even the enemies of Kurds gave such a hateful message! Why is Barzani dictating what the Syrian Kurds should do? Did the Syrian, Iranian and Turkey's Kurds dictate what Barzani should do? Did they denounced the autonomy of bashur? I can't believe this! The gold standard is to have elections and this is what is going to happen. Barzani's claim that the PYD was wrong to fight the Islamist is totally far from reality. This this guy serious? Or is he forced by Turkey to say that. I am frankly totally disappointed in Barzani's stetement!
Darin | 15/11/2013
Mr president, what is the most important to you and to the Kurdish nation now, the liberation of West Kurdistan or "marginalization of the other Kurdish parties in Rojava"? Even if PYD is sided with Bashar Assad’s regime now, what is wrong with that if that benefit the Kurds there? PDK was sided with Saddam in 1996 even it was not in the benefit of the kurds at all and it led to a terrible civil war and led to kill thousands of kurds and tens of thousands of Kurds fleeing South Kurdistan and we suffer of it yet. Bashar Assad's regime is very weak now so even Bashar left west kurdistan to PYD so what is wrong with that? Now kurds in Rojava have schools in kurdish, all authorities there in kurds hands, there are no arab soldiers, no arab oppression and no occupation any more, isn't that what the every kurd wants? Mr president the PYD fighting a war that is absolutely a Kurdish fight, do you want our brothers and sisters wait to be killed by the terrorists jihadist al-Qaeda forces and Rojava be occupied by these terrorists? It very funny that Syrian opposition considers PYD as a part of the regime because most of the Syrian opposition are former Bashar's henchmen and arab nationalists and islamists who hate kurds.
isa ali | 15/11/2013
So what Barzani offers? What PYD should do? Can he become more specific what is saying about what for recognition of Rojava? We all know Turks or Arabs will not support any Kurdish autonomy. This can not be blame for PYD announcement earlier or later. Earlier better to force other play open for next move. As I follow things, KDP more interested on KRG's station and Rojava is only choice for them if it will not hurt KDP. Before Barzan's trip to Turkey, just showing Turks how loyal you are... I suggest Mesud Barzan try to take a seat Erdogan government as a oil minister. We will not judge you anymore, I really not gonna follow Rudaw anymore if this is a case.
Arjun | 15/11/2013
What the hell is bargain talking about!!! Autonomy is in the best interest of kurds in rojava!!! How can representing kurds as a different sect in Syria (rather than Arab opposition) be bad thing?! Oh and also the war with al Qaeda was a kurdish war not a pyd war.. What would barzani want pyd to do? Let all the terrorists simply go around in rojava, and if the regime or the opposition wins, kurds will continue to be suppressed and killed like they have been before!! Autonomy is the best thing that could have happened for Rojava!!
Russel Check | 15/11/2013
I agree with him on the Kurdish flag and that PYD should show real leadership (he's setting a "great" example here) and be inclusive towards ALL Kurdish faction no matter how small they are. But I don't think it was a good idea to lecture PYD on making deals with Assad, no one has forgotten how he first fought the PKK with Turkey then later brought Saddams troops to Hawler. Besides Assad is at he's weakest now, if PYD can't get concession from him now then when? it is absolutely the right tactic. What is the alternative for them? it's not like they have much of a choice, let's not forget that PYD knocked on the "Syrian oppositions" door for over two years! and all they demanded for joining them was actually the recognition of the Kurdish identity and cultural rights in the new constitution, but the filthy "Syrian opposition" turned that down several times! and NOT just because of Turkish pressure. PYD reached out to Turkey, to Barzany, to the filthy Syrian opposition, to the US and they were given the cold shoulder each time because they would NOT bow down on Kurdish rights!
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