Syrian Kurds Trade Armed Opposition for Autonomy

(Ekurd) – The Kurdish region in northern Syria [Western Kurdistan] remains impenetrable as it confronts both Turkey and the Free Syrian Army. Thus far, there have been 2 failed attempts to drag the Kurdish opposition into battle against Syrian Army forces and to break the Kurdish Democratic Union Party’s [PYD] control over the Kurdish areas. The Kurdish areas under PYD control extend for 848 km from Al-Malikiyah (also known as Dayrik) in northern Iraq to Efrin, which is north of Aleppo. This western Kurdistan region also coincides with the Syrian-Turkish border.

The PYD, headed by Salih Muhammad Muslim from al-Qamishli District, is considered one of the most important parties in the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change. It is also an armed group, which is worth noting given that the committee officially opposes the militarization of the conflict.

It is especially because of this favorable political environment — one that favors both the regime and the opposition — that the PYD is able to show off its armaments without actually having to use them. The first attempt failed after 1,800 Syrian Kurdish soldiers discharged from a training camp in Iraqi Kurdistan, near Erbil, in order to seek livelihood.

The PYD has infused thousands of its supporters into the popular committees. Approximately 220 Kurdish checkpoints are set up on the road that links Efrin to Aleppo. These checkpoints were the reason why the Free Syrian Army failed to infiltrate Aleppo,www.ekurd.net even though they had been working towards that goal for three months. Two months ago a demonstration was staged by the Muslim Brotherhood in Rifa’at Hill, marching toward Efrin. The demonstration aggravated the checkpoint of the popular committee and led to a clash between the two sides.

There have been rumors regarding the arrival of suicide bombers who were planning on carrying out suicide attacks in al-Qamishli District. Simultaneously, the “macho” men of al-Antaziyah neighborhood in al-Qamishli staged a demonstration protesting the PYD’s influence in the area. The National Council of Western Kurdistan and other Kurdish parties had agreed to end the conflicts by halting armed manifestations. This move thwarted all attempts to open the road between Efrin to Aleppo.

The Syrian Kurds have been reluctant to join the revolution after the Arab opposition abandoned them in 2004. At that time, especially during the Al-Qamishli uprising, they staged mass demonstrations and solely confronted the Syrian army and its violent suppression tactics. Even so, the mostly peaceful Kurdish demonstrations support the Syrian National Council and call for the fall of the regime and the implementation of Kurdish demands.

Soccer match sparked the al-Qamishli uprising in 2004 [Pro- and anti-Bush sentiments] (pdf file)

Turkish troops kill 115 Kurdish rebels as offensive blocks escape routes to Iraq

DIYARBAKIR, The Kurdish region of Turkey (Guardian)— Turkey’s security forces have killed as many as 115 Kurdish rebels during a major security offensive over the past two weeks, the country’s interior minister said on Sunday.

Idris Naim Sahin said the rebels were killed in an offensive backed by airpower near the town of Semdinli in Hakkari province, which sits on the border with Iraq. He said the offensive began on 23 July. Sahin provided few other details, but said the security forces were trying to block the rebels’ escape routes into northern Iraq.

Private NTV television said earlier that as many as 2,000 troops were taking part in the offensive and that public access to some roads was blocked.

Kurdish PKK rebels stormed a Turkish army post on the Iraq border, 20 killed

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