Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Syria-based Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) denied accusations of having strong ties with the Syrian government, and told Asharq Al-Awsat that it is still determined to “liberate the Kurdish parts of Syria and establish a federation with a local Kurdish administration.”
The PYD came under harsh criticism following a recent visit by the Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem Al-Freij’s to the PYD-held city of Qamishli, northern Syria. Freij was said to have secretly met with PYD leaders.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat a senior PYD leader, Ja’afar Akash, said that the accusations are “baseless.”
According to Akash, these rumors aim to incite local Kurds to rise up against the PYD, citing a similar incident that happened in the Kurdish-majority Sheikh Maksoud and Ashrafiya districts of Aleppo.
Despite his denial of his party having a strong relationship with the Syrian government, Akash did not rule out the possibility that several Kurdish parties in Syria are being bankrolled by the Ba’ath-led government.
“We want to acquire legitimacy for the local administration we declared in Western Kurdistan,” he said, adding, “We do not mind sitting at the negotiating table with any side that recognizes the national rights of the Kurdish people.”
“We still oppose the regime and do not accept its policies,” Akash said.
Akash called on Kurds to “close ranks, participate in Geneva II in a single delegation and comply with the terms of the Erbil agreement brokered by President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani.”
Akash criticized some Kurdish parties that said that the establishment of a Kurdish administration in northeastern parts of Syria was too early.
“Such comments do not serve the Kurdish people’s interests,” he said.
The head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Abdul Hakim Bashar, has accused the PYD of forging strong relations with the Syrian government, and has threatened to sever ties with it.
For his part, the ongoing Prime Minster of Iraqi Kurdistan Nechirvan Barzani said last week that he was concerned over the PYD’s actions.
A Syrian Azadi Party representative in Iraq, Kawa Azizi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Syrian National Council is the legitimate representative of the Kurdish people in Syria and that his party was dissatisfied with the performance of the PYD.
Azizi accused the PYD of taking control over the Kurdish parts of Syria in coordination with the Syrian government.
According to Azizi, by trying to prove that it is the only political player in the Kurdish-majority parts of Syria, especially in Qamishli, the PYD will endanger Syrian Kurds.