Men with guns patrol the streets in Afrin wearing armbands that say police on April 3, 2018. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The ENKS called for expulsion of Turkish army and its Syrian proxies in Afrin with the provision of “security and safety through international protection.” It also condemned the arrest of their members and supporters by the PYD.
“The [Kurdish National Council] stressed the need to exert all efforts by the concerned countries, the United Nations, friends and the Kurdish forces to help put an end to these acts and stop them and work on the withdrawal of all Turkish forces and factions cooperating with them from the region of Afrin, and to disarm them and the militants, handing over the region and its administration to its people and helping them to manage their affairs and provide services so that life can pass normally and security and safety is provided through international protection, ” read the statement published after the council meeting on Sunday.
ENKS has been accused of working with Turkey. It has offices in Qamishli and the Kurdistan Region’s capital city of Erbil. ENKS agreed to join the Syrian National Coalition, a Syrian-regime opposition umbrella group supported by Turkey. During the Afrin operation, ENKS temporarily suspended its membership in the Syrian National Council during the Afrin operation, but rejoined
citing the need for Kurdish education in Afrin. ENKS previously faced criticism for expressing support for the Turkish offensive.
Turkey and its Syrian proxies took control of Afrin city on March 18 after a nearly three-month assault that killed at least 300 civilians. The Free Syrian Army militants were soon accused of executions, looting, and the destruction of Kurdish houses and the relocation of mostly Arab people from Azaz and Eastern Ghouta into Afrin.
‘Intimidation against its members’
There are two main Kurdish political entities in Rojava, ENKS and TEV-DEM. The former is predominantly controlled by Kurdistan Democratic Party - Syria (PDKS) while the latter is controlled by PYD, the political wing of People’s Protection Units (YPG) which rules in northern parts of Syria, or Rojava.
Asayesh (Kurdish security unit) has arrested members of ENKS and their high-ranking officials numerous times. Most recently Faysal Yusuf, a member of ENKS, was arrested by the Asayesh on April 2 and has not been released.
A court in Rojava issued
warrants on Friday for former leader of ENKS, Ibrahim Biro and the group’s representative to the Syrian National Coalition, Fuad Eliko.
“The Turkish state did not solely use weapons, it also it tried to mislead the people of Afrin through its use of media to legitimize its occupation. At the same time, it showed a number of Kurdish mercenaries altering the truth,” reads a statement by the People’s Court of Northern Syria published by ANF news.
The ENKS statement also condemned the PYD for “targeting the Kurdish National Council by using inflammatory speech against it and the language of intimidation against its members,” naming Faysal Yusuf among the arrestees. It added that the arrest of Yusuf has “created a general discount among Kurdish people.”