Syria regime ‘using’ PKK, dissident says

Syria regime ‘using’ PKK, dissident says

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Syria regime ‘using’ PKK, dissident says

Syria's former ambassador to Sweden, Mohammad Bassam Imadi gestures during a news conference in Istanbul December 15, 2011. REUTERS Photo

The Syrian wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is being used against Syrian protesters calling for an overthrow of the government and could soon be deployed against Turkey, according to several Syrian opposition figures.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD), the PKK’s Syrian branch, is currently acting in concert with the Syrian regime to suppress protesters, Mohammad Bassam Imadi, an opposition figure who was Damascus’ former envoy to Sweden, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The claim was echoed by a high-ranking member of the opposition Syrian National Council, as well as the head of the likeminded Syrian National Alliance.

Imadi said Salih Muslim Muhammed, who has been PYD leader since 2010, was not allowed to enter Syria before but had now been allowed to return to the Arab republic.

“I told Salih Muslim that he had been enemies with the regime in the past and asked him how he was allowed to operate in Syria now. He told me that the PYD had never been enemies with the Syrian regime,” Imadi said, adding that he now understood Damascus was using the group against anti-government demonstrators.

“PYD leaders [also] told me that if Turkey intervenes in Syria, they would fight against Turkey,” Imadi said.

“The Syrian regime uses the PYD militants as part of the Shabiha forces, which act as the shadowy militia of the regime that assists in its brutal crackdown,” Imadi said.

Salah Eldin Bilal, a Kurdish-Syrian opposition member who escaped from the Syrian regime 15 years ago and has since been living in Germany, corroborated Imadi’s claims, saying the Syrian regime had so many cards in his hands that it could use them against the other countries in the region.

“They can use some parts of the Kurdish movement against Turkey as they have used them before. However, as Syrian Kurds, we shouldn’t be used against any other country, we want all Syrian people to be together,” he said.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

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