PYD begins fight against al-Assad regime forces in northern Syria
Rebel fighters run for cover in the majority-Kurdish Sheikh Maqsud district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 4, 2013. Arab rebels and Kurd fighters say they are fighting together against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but on the ground, the reality is rather more complex. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFFSyrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces began targeting Syrian Kurds and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which has ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), for the first time since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, as Turkish daily Milliyet's columnist Aslı Aydıntaşbaş has pointed out in her latest article.
Last week the Syrian army targeted Qamishli city in northeastern Syria on the Turkey-Syria border with mortars and air bombardment, as well as two other districts of Aleppo, which are inhabited mainly by Kurds.
Fifteen civilians were killed in the clashes and nine soldiers were also killed by the paramilitary forces of the PYD, according to media reports.
"Up to now, our aim was self-defense, to defend the regions populated by Kurds. This is the biggest attack ever targeting these regions," PYD leader Salih Müslim said in a phone interview with daily Milliyet.
The PYD leader thinks there might be two reasons for this attack. The first one is an agreement made between the PYD and several secular groups of the Free Syrian Army, which disturbs the al-Assad regime.
The second reason might be the İmrali process brokering peace between the Turkish government and the PKK and the possibility of a future agreement between Turks and Kurds, according to Müslim.
Asked about joining the Syrian opposition, the PYD leader said they would not fight against the Syrian army until constitutional guarantees are given to Syrian Kurds.