Salih Muslim, co-leader of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD). Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The co-leader of the main Kurdish party in Syrian Kurdistan, Salih Muslim, has called on the US to extend strikes against every Syrian party that has chemical weapons.
“We hope that the United States will not confine itself to punishing the Syrian regime alone, because there are a lot of chemical weapons in Syria and others parties have also used it, in Sheikh Maqsoud, in Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan], and Raqqa,” Muslim said as he was speaking to US-funded Voice of America from Brussels, naming alleged chemical attacks by ISIS and Syrian opposition forces.
Muslim said that he cannot assess whether or not the US strikes against a Syrian airbase overnight will have a positive or negative results on the ground. “We will look at the results,” he said.
He however said that this may force parties on the ground to realize that there is not a military solution to the six-year civil in Syria that has claimed half a million lives, by some estimates. From this perspective, the strikes may turn out to be good, he noted.
“We believe that this attack must yield positive results since the parties who did not believe in a political solution may reconsider and see that there is no military solution,” Muslim argued, explaining that the US was “forced” to take actions in an atmosphere where they were left with no other options.
Muslim is the co-leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political party in northern Syria aligned with the armed YPG who are receiving military backing from the US-led coalition as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He has helped to carve out a mainly Kurdish enclave in northern Syria.
Muslim hoped that the US strikes will not be a “one-off” option and called on the US to also target other Syrian armed groups, whom he said have their hands on the banned weapons.
Asked about US involvement, the PYD leader said that regional and international powers have now entered the Syrian civil war with their own forces following a period of waging a “proxy war.” The US is already involved to such an extent that it cannot “turn its back” on Syria, he argued, especially in its war against ISIS where it is helping the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in their campaign to defeat the extremist group in Raqqa, the ISIS de-facto capital in Syria.