Syria’s Kurdish National Council Delegation Discuss Federalism in Washington

A delegation containing members of Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS) visited the United States on Sunday for talks with US officials on the Syrian crisis and the Kurdish issue in the country.

Ibrahim Biro, head of ENKS said they would meet officials from the US Department of State and military staff as well.

“Federalism for the whole of Syria and a Kurdish region will be on the top of the agenda,” he said. Biro also made it clear the case of Rojava Peshmerga and the possibility of their returning to Syria would be on the table.

“Those fighters are Syrian Kurds, and they should return to their home country,” he said. Rojava Peshmerga makes up thousands of dissident Kurdish soldiers who fled the Syrian Army in the early days of the Syrian civil war to fight IS in the Kurdistan Region.

They have been fighting alongside Peshmerga forces since the beginning of IS’ emergence in 2014.

Regarding the US policy towards the war and Kurdish question in Syria, Biro said the new US administration would make everything clear regarding political and military issues, particularly in the Kurdish region.

Biro pointed out the ENKS delegation to the US would discuss their tense relations with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main ruling party in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

“The violations and intimidations by the PYD in Rojava and how much people suffer under their rule will be under discussion with the US officials,” he said. “PYD and their security forces are conscripting people and take the youth to battles by force, while there are thousands of Rojava Peshmerga fighters ready to fight, but prevented due to political disagreements,” Biro explained.

Moreover, Biro criticized the PYD’s relations with many parties in Syria, such as the Syrian regime and the Syrian Arabs. “The PYD can be allied to many parties, like the regime, Arabs, and even Turkey, but refuse to work with the ENKS and Rojava Peshmerga,” he concluded.

After the breakout of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Syrian Kurds were fractured into two main councils: TEV-DEM and ENKS.

One council rules the Kurdish-held areas in Rojava called the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM in Kurdish). TEV-DEM, a political coalition led by the PYD and other Kurdish parties, is operating a system of three “autonomous administrations.”

These administrations include Jazira, Kobani, and Afrin in Syria’s north, with independent police forces and schools. The federal system, declared by TEV-DEM on March 17, would unite these cantons under a single administrative unit.

The other Syrian Kurdish Council, ENKS, was founded in Erbil on Oct. 26, 2011, with the support of the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani. ENKS was part of the Turkey-based Syrian Arab opposition and had been in political conflicts with the PYD-led administration of Rojava.

 

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