Kurds Reject Syrian Opposition’s Transition Plan

Syrian Kurds were angered by the recent transition plan, proposed by the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, as the plan does not envision any form of federalism in post-war Syria.

The High Negotiations Committee for the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) proposed the principle of administrative decentralization in managing the country’s affairs.

“Giving the people of each governorate and district a role in managing their local affairs: economic, communal, and daily life affairs in ways that do not adversely affect the unity of the country,” the proposal said.

However, the Kurds are not satisfied with the transition plan, which does not recognize any form of autonomy for the Kurds.

“This proposed plan makes one feels sorry for the Syrian situation; after five years of bloodshed, the opposition is still thinking and acting in the same political way,” Bader Mustafa, a member of the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK), told ARA News.

“The Syrian opposition wants to replace the Assad regime with the same centralised power,” he said. “I am sure they will not achieve this, and the civil war will continue in Syria as long as this opposition keeps thinking in this way.”

Kurdish activists also expressed their anger with the Kurdish National Council (KNC) which is still part of the Syrian opposition bloc.

“The KNC is still part of SNC, but the SNC has a narrow view on Kurdish rights in Syria, and insists that the administration will only be local, with no kind of recognition of any self-administration,” Mustafa said.

Speaking to ARA News, Zara Salih, a member of the Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria, said that there is no difference between the Syrian opposition and the Baath-regime.

“To convince the Syrian opposition on Kurdish rights cannot be achieved, because they are the students of the Baathist and Arab nationalist culture,” he said. “They cannot change their mentality over the night.”

Salih pointed out that the KNC failed to recognize Kurdish rights at the 2011 Tunis Conference and at subsequent conferences in Geneva and Riyadh. “The Syrian opposition members keep showing a racist attitude towards the Kurds without much of a response from the KNC,” Salih told ARA News.

Therefore, the Kurdish politician suggested that it would be better for the KNC to withdraw from the Syrian opposition, and try to reach a deal with the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PYD recently signed an agreement with Syria’s Tomorrow Movement led by Ahmed Jarba, the former head SNC, recognizing the Canton administrations.

“The announced autonomous administration in the areas of al-Jazeera, Kobane and Afrin in northern Syria are accepted and commitments are made to adhere to their laws and the decisions of the courts,” the agreement said.

According to Walid Shekho, a Syrian Kurdish politician, federalism could guarantee the rights of the Kurdish people and other minorities in Syria.

“I think federalism is a basic right. The best step to realize our right is to unite the Kurds and draw a road map solution for Rojava and the rest of Syria,” Shekho told ARA News. “Of course, with consultation with the US and EU.”

Michael Stephens, Research Fellow for Middle East Studies and Head of RUSI Qatar, told ARA News that unlike the Syrian opposition and PYD, the KNC’s aims are Kurdish nationalist in character.

“The KNC insistence on Kurdish rights and identity being explicitly stated made their position ultimately untenable with mainstream opposition positions,” Stephens said.

“The PYD has been more ecumenical in this regard, but the KNC has long insisted on ethnic national identity as being the main underpinning of their ideas which cannot be compatible with larger opposition goals,” he added. “To this end, it is not surprising that a split has opened up; their end goals were never the same. The KNC wants an autonomous Kurdish controlled entity. They’re very clear about it.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News