Bashar al-Assad who inherited power from his father Hafez in 2000 promised to open up the country’s economy, but continued to jail critics, dissidents, human rights activists opposing the regime and maintained a stranglehold on the internet and media. The Baathist regime continued implementing the systemic denial and discriminatory policies against its own Kurdish people and all others ethnicities. Political parties and protests were banned and the emergency law – in place since 1963 – gave the authorities sweeping power to arrest and torture.
The Syrian pro-democracy and anti-government protests started in mid-March, inspired by the popular revolutions that toppled the dictatorial leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, it calls peacefully for freedom and democracy and demands legitimate political and economic reforms and an end to oppression, corruption and dictatorship. The protests courageously broke the barrier of fear and spread to most of Syrian towns to cities. The protests have been violently suppressed by security and military forces. The government has sent tanks and troops into more than 10 towns and cities, where peaceful protesters and civilians have been brutally attacked using tank fire to shoot down unarmed protesters. Snipers fire from rooftops on residents, livestock is killed; land and property has been destroyed; electricity and communication lines are cut; roads are blocked and hospitals raided. As a result the protesters have been calling for greater freedom, an end to corruption, and increasingly the toppling of President Assad. Human Rights groups say about tens of thousands civilians have been killed and more than tens of thousands have been arrested, tortured, ‘disappeared’, and more than tens of thousands fled to Turkey, Lebanon since pro-democracy protests. The US and EU have strongly condemned the Syrian government’s violence against its own citizens and slapped sanctions on a number of senior Syrian figures. On 18 May the US imposed sanctions on President Assad himself accusing him of human rights abuses. An official said it was time for Assad “to lead a political transition or to leave”. Western officials said they cannot act robustly because – unlike with Libya – they do not have the backing of the Arab league which has sent the monitors to observe the crises in Syria.The insisting of brutal Assad regime of killing and massacring the civilian pro-democracy protesters, danger the joint UN and Arab peace envoy and Annan’s peace plan which was widely regionally and globally supported.
As the interventions of the regional and global ruling powers that are trying to get around the uprising and direct it according to their interests and agenda, very deeply concern the democratic movement and opposition about the worsening crises in Syria, which is rapidly emerging as violent sectarian civil war and warning that regional and international player should restrain from military intervention as this police of seeking a solution might provoke even further civil war, unrest and destruction of the infrastructure of the Country.
There are three conflicting forces in the ongoing political conflict on the ground in Syria and Western Kurdistan and the opposition is trapped in between these conflicting powers.
The first is the Syrian National Council (SNC) which was formed in Turkey and backed by Western power and Turkish policies and its agenda in the region as well as an extension of USA policy in the region. This most likely led by the Council of the Islamic movement, and completely supported by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, as well as some liberals. SNC calls on Turkish military intervention with the support of USA, Europe along with some Arab Golf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar which are now funding and supplying weaponry to Syrian free Army facilitated by Turkey. The aim of this militarily intervention to build an army supported externally similar to the Libyan army and the same support from NATO to resolve the matter militarily. This Council refuses to recognise the existence of the Kurdish people and others ethnicities to be recognised constitutionally and therefore the councils vision and ideology is no different from the Baath party vision and ideology to the Kurdish issue and other issues of democracy in the country. The political discourse of this council tainted by sectarianism and intolerance and chauvinism, authoritarianism as is the case with the Baath party.
The Second force are the democratic movement forces as Syrian National Coordinating Body for democratic change (NCB) that reject foreign military intervention and emphasizes on non-violence and non-sectarianism, and also emphasizes on public freedoms, democracy and the constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people and other components such as the Syriacs, Assyrians, Turkmen and Armenians within the composition of Syrian society. It also emphasizes the political dialogue of democracy in its statements and its program, and opposes the agenda of Turkish politics which is seeking to distort the pro-democracy uprising by promoting its political Islam and prevent the Syrian Kurds and others ethnicities to obtain their democratic rights. This popular trend should have led the peaceful, democratic movement and adopted the legitimate demands of people and called for real change for freedom, democracy and believes that the overthrow the authoritarian regime is a means democratising Syria and access to a democratic constitution. However, NCB has not been favoured by western power and could not impose itself on the scene internationally as a democratic opposition since NBC did not agree to promote the foreigner interest.
The Third force is the brutal Assad regime with its army and its security and its ideology of anti-democracy and freedom. Syrian oppressive regime is still insisting on military solution by killings and massacring civilian protesters, despite the calls and diplomatic efforts of regional and International communities for a peaceful and democratic solution. Since the beginning of the Syrian pro-democracy uprising, the Syrian brutal regime has been insisting on the policy of violence against peaceful protesters and using all types weapons including tanks, warplanes to brutally shell and bombard cities and towns resulted in deaths of more than hundreds of thousands and more than 2 million people displaced, hundred of thousands fled the violence to the Kurdish areas which were already suffering of basic needs of food and medicine. Therefore there is an urgent need for food and medicine in the area. As the Syrian crises are deepening, the peaceful Syrian revolution turned into armed conflict and bloody sectarian ware in many areas and this has resulted in considerable devastation for many towns and cities.
Kurdish opposition is also divided within itself into two faction and positions,
The first faction represented in the position of the Kurdish parties, Kurdish National Council which does not depend on its own strength for the Kurdish people in the process of democratisation of Syria and solving the Kurdish issue, but rather depends on the political balances in the region and trying to impose itself on the public street and on the basis of support for the Kurdistan Regional Government- Iraq and its political positions. The most concerns in the position of this trend are flirting with the Turkish policy and the lack of transparency in the position of Kurdish national unity. It is not independent in its political activities and its alliances, as Turkey has tried via the intermediary of Kurdistan Regional Government to use this faction to promote the Turkish interest and agenda and oppose the Freedom Movement of Kurdistan.
Second faction is the People Council of Western Kurdistan, along with the movement of a Democratic Society for Western Kurdistan (DEM TEV) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and including women’s and youth organisations. This Council is based on the regulatory activity by wide public in the general areas of western Kurdistan and Syria, and trying to build Kurdish popular democratic institutions, such as Kurdish schools, culture and educational centres for women and youths in the Kurdish region. It is the most organised and has disciplined Cadres of popular conscious and are experts in organizational work and political revolutionary against tyranny. This stream is being subjected to attacks and dimness campaigns supported by the Turkish government and Western power in order to undermine the Kurdish democratic movement and to prevent the emergence of “secular” democratic, pluralistic opposition to lead the pro-democracy uprising. This political faction has been campaigning for the imposition of identity, flag, and symbols in the Kurdish political street and holds the banner of democracy for Syria and democratic self-governing for the Western Kurdistan, as the opening of schools and popular cultural centres, in the Kurdish areas and joined the coalition with the democratic forces of Arab And non-Arab in the structure of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic change. This faction view that freedom and democracy is more important than changing the seat of power, also believes that changing the seat of power is not enough for the revolution to achieve its goal, but sees the urgent need to change the political regime and the Constitution as a whole and radically so as to ensure constitutional recognition of nationalities and cultures in the country. Therefore the democratic society movement initiated to organise the Kurdish people of implementing the democratic self-governing policy by freely electing local committees in order that people can regulate and rule themselves freely.
The National Coordination Body for democratic change and PYD are calling the regional and International Community to exert their influence on the Syrian regime to stop the attacks and killings of pro-democracy and freedom protesters and to meet their legitimate demands by peacefully allowing a democratic transitional change of power towards a democratic, free, and pluralistic Syria, in which all ethno-religious communities such as Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Druzes, Alevites, Arabs, will be equally represented in the new democratic, pluralistic constitution.The Syrian opposition is calling US and EU to put pressure on the Syrian regime to refrain from killing peaceful protesters. It is believed that the international community has a vital role to end the bloodshed in Syria by diplomatically isolating and pushing the Syrian regime into illegitimacy.
The role of democratic opposition and PYD
The establishment of democratic and unified opposition to lead the pro-democracy uprising was a vital step towards democratic change. On the founding meeting of the Coordinating Body for Democratic Change, political parties of the National Democratic Assembly, the Kurdish National Movement, the Leftist-Marxist Assembly and many other notable groups within the pro-democratic national movement held a founding meeting for the establishment of a national coordinating body – an umbrella organisation for the national democratic forces in Syria. The aim of this body is to unite the democratic opposition in the country. This meeting approved the establishment of a coordinating body that will remain open to all national forces and independent figures that believe in the general principles of the Political Document, and also share the principles of the political forces behind the peaceful popular movement.
The Democratic Union Party, which represents a large segment of the Kurdish community, is the most organised Kurdish political party in the whole of Syria. As the National Coordinating Body recognizes the national rights and existence of the Kurds in Syria and demands a democratic and peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue. The PYD is one of the main founders of the National Coordinating Body for democratic change and actively leading its activities calling for Kurds and Kurdish parties to join the pro-democracy uprising. The leadership of the party returned to Syria to lead and participate in protest on the grounds to unite the Kurdish national demand for national unity. The PYD was the first political party to declare and introduce a comprehensive resolution on solving the Kurdish issue and democratisation of Syria. PYD is seeking a democratic and peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue within the framework of the country’s unity, and to building a democratic civil state based on the democratic self-governance for Kurds and all others ethnicities in free Syria. The new constitution must protect the fundamental rights of all ethnic and religious minorities, on the following basis:
– Constitutional recognition of the Kurdish people national and cultural rights in democratic Syria and to allow the practice of the Kurdish language and the opening of schools and universities teaching in Kurdish.
– Hold a free public referendum to legitimate the new democratic constitution which recognises the right to self-determination for the Kurds and all others ethnicities for democratic self- governance within united democratic Syria.
– lifting all discriminatory and racist policies implemented in Kurdish region and fairly compensate the Kurd farmers whom have been stripped of their nationalities, land and property, and whom have been expelled from their areas forcibly by the state and ensure the return of all displaced Kurds to their homes and granting citizenship to those being stripped of it, and the recognition of all their rights like equal citizens.
On 11 June 2012, a joint historical meeting for unifying the Syrian Kurdish demands and activities between The People’s Council of West Kurdistan and Kurdish National Council held in Hewlêr, Kurdistan Region. The Kurdish National Council was represented by Abdulhamid Hajji Darwish, Dr. Abdulhakim Bashar, and Prof. Muhammad Musa. The People’s Council of West Kurdistan was represented by the attorney Abdussalam Ahmad, Ms Sinam Muhammad, Jihan Muhammad, Dr. Muhammad Rasho, and Dr. Husayn Kochar. The meeting was facilitated by Dr. Hamid Darbandi, director of the Public Relations Department for the Presidential Office of the Kurdistan Region. Darbandi was representing the President of the Region. The meeting was constructive and honest and both sides emphasized that
in this sensitive time, it is necessary to overcome all conflicts and obstacles that interfere with a unified Kurdish front. Both sides were of the opinion that the need of Kurdish united front could achieve cooperation in support of the greatest possible agreement between the two councils and agreed on:
• To establish a joint Supreme Kurdish Council of both councils to coordinate political and diplomatic activities as well as to develop a unified political objectives which are based on the values of the Kurdish people and work to overthrow of the dictatorship in Damascus and form a democratic, pluralistic Syria. The new Syria will satisfy the aspirations of our people by recognizing its existence as an indigenous people in the new constitution. The Kurdish question must be solved democratically.
• To establish sub-Committees as service and protection committees of both councils to coordinate practical work on the ground in all Kurdish whole regions.
• To end all allegations and internal ant-propaganda against each other
• To abolish all forms of armed presence in the Kurdish region.
• To establish unarmed protection committees to protect the region.
The liberation of Kurdish region in Syria
The Democratic Union Party (PYD) has called for support and protection of the peacefully established and self-governed Syrian Kurdish region. The Kurdish areas in Syria, except from the city of Qamishli, have recently been liberated from the brutal Assad’s regime and are under Kurdish control. Consequently, we, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), with other Kurdish political parties in the Kurdish National Council (KNC) have jointly agreed to protect and administer our regions. This agreement resulted in the establishment of the Supreme Kurdish Council, which strives to protect our legitimate gains and to consolidate them in the future constitution of a free democratic Syria.
This liberated Kurdish region could serve as a safe area for civilians and therefore this democratic establishment should be considered as the contributors to build a free democratic and plural united Syria. This peaceful establishment should not be considered as a threat to the regional and global stability but as a constructive contribution to democracy, peace and stability in the region. The Kurds are not separatists and have never had separatist intentions; therefore we ensure that our goal is to democratically self-govern our regions within the geopolitical borders of the Syrian Republic. Our mission is to play our part in building the future of Syria. The Kurdish region has now been ruled democratically by Kurds themselves and established principles of the democratic self-governing system by organising and forming civic, economics and social commissions to serve the people in the region.
We believe that the Kurds are integral to regional stability and order. However, as the future of Syria looks grim, the support and protection of Syria’s Kurds from the international community is an urgent necessity. Therefore, we call on the Regional and International communities UN, EU and the free world of their moral responsibility to support and protect the peaceful establishment of self-ruled Syrian Kurdish region.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD)
Info and Relations Center Of Democratic Union Party
[email protected] www.pydrojava.com