On Thursday 2 June, the Kurdish Institute organized a successful Inter-Parliamentary Working Group (IPWK). For this occasion, we had one of the impressive committee rooms of the Chamber of Representatives at our disposal, more specifically the Marguerite Yourcenar room in the fairly new Forum building.

The pressing topic of this IPWK was focused on the global threat and acute threat posed by Islamic State (ISIS) in northeastern Syria. The major incident with ISIS in Hasakah (January 2022) – and the many smaller incidents that followed – prove once again that the situation in the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES) is a ticking time bomb and poses a real danger, not only to the region, but for the whole west.

The Syrian Democratic Council has been pointing out this grave danger for years. In a recently released detailed report, they not only describe the global threat, but also formulate concrete solutions to avoid this crisis.

Video conference with direct testimonies from the AANES was not possible – for security reasons. The Kurdish Institute therefore invited the following speakers who were physically present:

  • Federal Representative Koen Metsu introduced the conference with a short report and testimony of his political mission to the region concerned. Mr Metsu noted the dire situation with the camps on the spot. He outlined the seriousness of the facts based on a number of concrete examples. He shared his experiences with the audience and in this way built a bridge to the following speakers.
  • The human rights activist Rhodi Mellek has a lot of knowledge and expertise about the situation in Northeast Syria. She has long been a spokeswoman for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the largest political formation in the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES). During her speech, Rhodi talked about the current situation in the IS camps and the dangers this situation entails. Rhodi also gave a short explanation about the role of women in Rojava. In AANES, women are ubiquitous in all sectors and occupy important positions. A unique fact in the midst of many autocratic regimes in the Middle East.
  • Dr Khaled Issa represents the Syrian Kurds in France and is a member of the Democratic Union Party. Mr Issa focused on the status of the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria and placed it in a regional and geopolitical context. He explained to the federal politicians present what solutions the AANES is offering to the international community to defuse the dangerous situation (for the West). One of these is the recognition and establishment of diplomatic relations with the AANES by the international community and Western political bodies (UN, EU and EU Member States). That would also mean that IS terrorists could be trialed on the spot by an international tribunal.

Both Rhodi Mellek and Khaled Issa underline the particularly hypocritical role that Turkey plays. Although Turkey is a NATO partner, it continues to harass the region concerned. It concerns deliberate aggressions to destabilize the AANES. Worse, there is evidence that the Turkish regime played a major role in fomenting the recent incidents between ISIS and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Under the guise of “fighting terrorism”, Turkey is in league with the world’s most dangerous terrorists. ISIS takes advantage of the escalated attacks by the Turkish occupation.