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Salih Muslim offers Kurdish enclave in Syria as base for coalition operations

By Rudaw 31/8/2015
PYD leader Salih Muslim.
PYD leader Salih Muslim.

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The leader of a Kurdish enclave in Syria said that the US-led coalition forces fighting the Islamic State group (ISIS) can operate from bases in its territory.

Saleh Muslim, leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls Syria’s Kurdish regions, or Rojava, also said that moderate Syrian opposition forces can be trained in its territories, instead of in Turkey.

"We would welcome the coalition to operate from Rojava  and we would welcome the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to train there too," Muslim said in an exclusive interview from Brussels with Britain’s Sky News.

Ankara has recently actively joined the coalition against ISIS, but Saleh scorned that pledge as "not genuine."

While declaring a war against terrorism and jihadis late last month, Ankara turned its guns on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with a series of air and artillery attacks in Turkey’s own southeast and in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, where the group has military camps.

The PYD is the Syrian wing of the PKK, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by several Western countries, including the United States. Yet, the PYD’s fighting wing, the YPG, has been a strong ally of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria and recognized as the most effective force on the ground against the militants.

“We favor a democratic decentralized Syria," Muslim said in the interview, adding that the political structures in Rojava are “the example of what the whole country should have."

Syria’s Kurds have been calling for a federal system in Syria in which different groups can co-exist. That proposal has been opposed by Turkey, which is loath to having an autonomous Syrian enclave on its border, next to its own restive Kurdish-populated areas.

Muslim also made a call to train moderate Syrian Arab factions in Rojava.

“We can help them, we can train them," said Muslim. "But we are not going to fight their war for them. We will support them all we can but we are not mercenaries for them."

Moderate Syrian forces are being trained in Turkey under a joint agreement with the United States.


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Domluce | 31/8/2015
American should supply PKK with anti-aircraft missiles if Turkey persisted in attacking US most important ally, the PKK.
Good Oportunity For The Coalition | 31/8/2015
The coalition must welcome this move,but the Kurds should first be recognized by the Arabs who are so far adamant to do that.The Kurds should never accept to return to the previous condition of being enslaved and persecuted by the Arabs.
FAUthman | 31/8/2015
I certainly hope the US will take him up on it. Already in Kobane and Hasaka joint command centers are set up, it has been reported, between the YPG and the US military and the FSA is an active member in the partnership with the Kurds in the war campaign. The only thing lacking is a coalition air base in Rojava. Whether the US will agree to train the FSA in Rojava however, that would be another matter.
A reasonable offer | 31/8/2015
I hope that Turks and pkk reach a ceasefire because neither side benefits from this flare up in violence. Rojava could serve as a safe haven for refugees but must be stationed with NATO troops for training and supported by air power. Kurds are reliable and grateful allies unlike hashed shabi terrorists.
Marcopolo | 31/8/2015
which means colaition should cooperate with Assad regime. this guy seem to have eaten donkey's brain. the main problem is Assad and without removing him you cannot defeat Jahadists in syria. Only a colaition of syrian opposition and independent kurdish organizations with the help of US air strike can put pressure on ISIS. as long Salim's friend ( assad ) is in power , jihadists have an excuse to join ISIS.. Thus the removal of Assad is sine qua non to deafiting ISIS

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