Syria’s Kurds will declare self-rule in all Kurdish regions within a week
ISTANBUL / Hürriyet
DHA PhotoSyrian Kurds, who have already declared “transitional democratic autonomy” in one of the three Kurdish-majority areas of northern Syrian (Rojava), are now set to declare self-rule in the other two Kurdish regions within a week, local politicians have said.
“The preparations in the other two regions are still continuing; we will declare democratic autonomy in Afrin and Kobani,” Zohat Kobani, one of the prominent leaders of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told daily Hürriyet.
Rojava Kurds first declared autonomy in Jazeera.
The Kurdish parties in Syria close to the PYD who were not invited to the Geneva II meetings are planning to spread the declarations of democratic autonomy to all majority-Kurdish regions in the north of Syria. Kurdish parties are divided among themselves in Syria; several of them have merged with the main opposition Syrian National Council, while around 10 have allied with the PYD.
Kobani said the project of declaring autonomous Kurdish regions started around six months ago under a PYD initiative, adding that Kurdish parties other than those close to the leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Massoud Barzani, had accepted the PYD’s offer.
“We have reached this point after six months of preparations,” he said.
Kobani also stressed that the self-rule of Kurdish regions in Syria did not threaten any neighboring countries, including Turkey. “On the contrary; the declaration of autonomous regions will enhance the border security of Turkey. Turkey’s border with Syria in these regions will become much more secure, especially at a time when the presence of jihadist groups along the border threatens Turkey’s stability and security,” he said.
Syrian troops mostly withdrew from majority-Kurdish areas in summer 2012, focusing their attention on rebel fighters and allowing the Kurds to develop semi-autonomy in their areas.
Kurdish fighters, especially those affiliated with the PYD, have since fought fierce battles against extremist opposition groups. The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) sees the Kurds as “heretics” and an obstacle to setting up an Islamic “caliphate” stretching from Iraq, which borders Hasake, to Syria.
The 22-member Jazeera council includes representatives tasked with leading defense, interior, planning and finance portfolios. Syrian Kurds constitute 15 percent of the population and have suffered decades of marginalization at the hands of authorities.