Syrian Kurds Form Unified Army, Call For Fedralism By Shirzad Shikhani
“the latest Erbil meeting raised democratic slogans for an independent Syria and for federalism in West Kurdistan
Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Syrian-Kurdish source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that “Kurdish forces represented in the People’s Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council arrived in Erbil to pave the way for the unification of fighters inside Syria’s Kurdish regions, to establish a popular army as an alternative to the armed militias that have run the security situation in Syria for a number of months”.
This group of Kurdish parties and forces, along with coordinating bodies, met in Erbil a few days ago to reach an agreement on unifying Kurdish efforts. This is in order to confront the threats that Kurdish regions are currently facing from Salafi groups, who in recent days have engaged in military confrontations with members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which effectively controls the situation on the ground in Syria’s Kurdish cities.
A leading Kurdish source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “talks were conducted in Erbil under the auspices of the leaders of the Kurdistan region. These talks brought about a consensus to activate the remainder of an earlier agreement signed by the two Kurdish councils (the People’s Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council) several months ago in Erbil, known as the Hewlêr [Kurdish name for Erbil] Agreement”.
The source stressed that “a comprehensive review was conducted of developments since that agreement was signed, as well as discussions about what has been accomplished and what remains in progress. Developments on the ground that have taken place in the region, namely the radical [Salafi] Islamist forces intensifying their confrontation with the Kurdish people in Syrian cities, necessitates the accelerated implementation of the rest of the agreement’s terms. Thus we reached an agreement to unite our armed forces inside Syria and to link them to the Kurdish Supreme Committee that represents both councils and the coordinating bodies”.
The source added that “there was also an agreement to increase the number of members in the Kurdish Supreme Committee to 21 members from each council. Each council now provides 16 of its own members in addition to 5 further members drafted from the coordinating bodies or independents”.
On the military front, the Kurdish source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “it was agreed that a new armed force will be formed to replace the existing forces – formed previously by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party – who currently run the security situation in the liberated Kurdish cities. The new force will also consist of armed elements affiliated to that party, but in addition to 650 young Syrians who were previously trained in Iraqi Kurdistan. This force will be tasked with defending the liberated Kurdish regions in cooperation with all other parties, and it will also be ready to contribute to the liberation of the rest of the Kurdish cities and regions, should this be necessary”.
The source added that “this new joint force will be the nucleus of a wider local entity that will take over security operations and fill the vacuum that is left after the fall of the ruling regime in Damascus”.
In terms of politics, the source said that “the latest Erbil meeting raised democratic slogans for an independent Syria and for federalism in West Kurdistan. Furthermore, the Kurdish Supreme Committee, consisting of the People’s Council of West Kurdistan, the Kurdish National Council and local coordinating bodies should be the sole legitimate representative of the Kurdish people in Syria”.