Who runs Syria’s Kurdish areas?



ARA News

Qamishli, Syria− After the declaration of the Transitional Administration in Syria’s Kurdish areas by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and other allies, unprecedented developments started taking place in the region. 

Pro-Assad demonstrations, deadly attacks and bombings, and increasing control by the Syrian security forces in several Kurdish cities and towns were seen after a month of the PYD-led declaration.  

The Transitional Administration was first proposed by the Kurdish PYD and approved by other Arab and Christian factions in the area. The Syriac Union Party, Arab Communist Party and al-Ghamar tribe were among others participants in the declaration of the administration −viewed by many as a form of self-rule. 

The declaration angered other Kurdish political parties in Syria, mainly members of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) −a coalition of 13 parties. According to the KNC, the PYD marginalized its member parties and excluded them from the administration project, “in a try to monopolize power in the region by support of some allies”. 

Opposition activists constantly accused the Democratic Union Party (PYD) of cooperation with the Assad regime against their activities in northern Syria. According to the opposition, the Syrian regime handed over many of its security centers to the PYD members in Syria’s Kurdish region. 

While PYD’s armed forces of Asayish and YPG are in control in several Kurdish areas, a pro-Assad militia was formed by some Arab tribal fighters in cities of Qamishlo/Qamishli and Hasakah −where Kurds constitute a majority− under the name of the National Army (NA). 

Members of the NA organized a pro-Assad demonstration in the city of Qamishlo mid-November. Activists said that the PYD’s silence about such a demonstration indicates “its ties” with the Syrian regime. 

Recently, a series of bombings took place in several Kurdish cities, including Qamishlo, resulting in dozens of casualties among civilians. No party adopted the operations. Still, activists blamed the PYD for inaction “since its in control in those areas together with the NA”. 

Moreover, sources reported to ARA News that a number of prominent regime officials visited the Kurdish areas after the declaration of the Transitional Administration, among them were security officers and ministers, including the Syrian Minister of Oil and Defence Minister.   

According to PYD-linked sources, the Syrian Defence Minister Fahid Jassem Fireij visited the Kurdish city of Qamishlo on Saturday. 

The PYD armed forces reportedly blocked the highway that links Qamishli and Hasakah, preventing private vehicles from entering or exiting Qamishli/Qamishlo. Other neighbourhoods such as Hilaliya saw security patrols led by members of the Syrian secret service. Activists in Qamishlo told ARA News that the Fireij’s convoy was accompanied by military vehicles and tanks, coming from the direction of Qamishlo’s airport, southern the city.  

The reasons behind the Minister of Defence’s visit remained unknown, and wasn’t commented on by any party. However, activists said that Fireij has participated in a so-called army festival in al-Tay Arab neighbourhood in Qamishlo. 

In other development, the Syrian-Turkish border crossing in Qamishlo was closed for months. Sources said that the Turkish authorities intends to reopen the crossing between Qamishlo and Turkey’s Nusaybin next week. 

Activists reported to ARA News that a deal was made between the Syrian local authority in Hasakah province and the Turkish authorities to reopen Qamishlo border crossing “on condition of preventing any influx of activists into Turkey”. 

“The crossing will be under the control of the Syrian security in the city,” a source said. 

Observers said that Fireij’s visit was aimed to hold talks with local powers in Qamishlo, including the NA and the PYD forces, concerning the border crossing with Turkey. 

The PYD members justify their position by arguing that their main concern is to protect the Kurdish people in Syria and maintain the Kurdish areas against the violence that spread across the country. Its armed forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and the Asayish are accused of detaining Kurdish opposition activists in northern Syria, while the party resorts its practices to the fear of a potential control by al-Qaeda affiliated groups to the Kurdish region.   



Reporting by: Perwan Omeri and Egid Ibrahim 

Source: ARA News

(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid)


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