Syrian Kurdish leader: ‘We don’t need permission for autonomy’

Leader of the Syrian Kurdish group PYD, Salih Muslim, has responded to criticism after declaring a ‘temporary autonomy’. 

World Bulletin / News Desk

Leader of the Syrian Kurdish group PYD, Salih Muslim, has defied criticisms directed at him for declaring “temporary autonomy” in Kurdish areas in northeast Syria.

“We have come to compromise with all segments and organizations in our region and made a road map for our people, nobody have the right to interfere and we don’t need permission [for declaring autonomy],” Salih Muslim, leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Anadolu Agency in Brussels.

The PYD has declared self-rule in areas under its control in northeast Syria, known as “Rojava”, after winning a battle against Syrian rebel fighters.

Both Turkey and the regional Kurdish government in Iraq’s north have criticized the move and Syrian rebel forces have accused PYD of colluding with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“They [Turkey and Iraqi Kurds) obviously say that they are against Rojava, and do not accept the autonomy and rule there. These don’t sound good. We are not against anybody and both Turkish officials and (the Iraqi Kurdish leader) Barzani know this. We are only dealing with the need of our people, but unfortunately we are portrayed as if we were against Turks and (Iraqi) Kurds”, Muslim said.

Turkey’s relations with Massoud Barzani, leader of the regional Kurdish government in north Iraq, have seen significant development over the past couple of years with sizable Turkish investments in the flourishing economy of the Iraq’s Kurdish parts.

Barzani paid a visit last weekend in a show of support for the Turkish government’s drive to end a decades old conflict with the terrorist PKK organization in Turkey’s southeast that claimed more than 40 thousand lives.

Muslim rejected calls for his group to join the Syrian opposition fighting to topple Assad, saying the PYD was also against the Damascus regime but it will not side with any party since “PYD had its own roadmap”.

Barzani has accused the PYD of disregard for “a common Kurdish cause” and betraying a deal – known as the Irbil agreement – that the Iraqi Kurdish leader supported to unite Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria.

“The PYD has not complied with the Irbil Agreement, and chased away all parties. It has declared itself an armed force through a fait accomplis, by way of coercion and clandestine deals with the regime,” Barzani had said.

Muslim’s group has been battling Al-Qaeda-linked opposition groups in Syria near the border with Turkey, causing a spillover of violence into the neighboring country that has resulted in scores of deaths in southern Turkish cities.

Despite denying allegiance with Damascus, a report released by the Turkish Gendarme claims that Bashar al-Assad has been directly supplying the PYD with ammunition and strategic support, including the delivery of 220 ground-to-air missiles.