The Chairwoman of the Executive Body of the Syrian Democratic Council, Ilham Ahmed, said that the procrastination in dealing with the political process, whether in Geneva or regarding the Constitutional Committee, is consolidating the reality of the current situation in Syria, and we are alarmed at Syria’s tendency to establish this reality and thus partition.
Mrs. Ilham Ahmed’s speech came during a high-level workshop hosted by Al-Quds Center for Political Studies via the “Zoom” application, which was attended by a group of Syrian and Arab politicians, journalists and researchers, under the title “The Kurdish Question and the Future of Syria” in which it was moderated by the director of the center, writer and researcher Oraib Al-Rantawi.
The workshop focused on recent developments, Turkish threats, the relationship with international powers, arrangements between Damascus and the Kurds in Syria, as well as the future of the Kurdish issue in Syria in the midst of the current situation and the relationship of Syria’s Kurds with powers in Kurdistan.
Turkey’s hostility to the Kurds and their project in Syria
During her talk about the Turkish threats to the areas of northern Syria, Mrs. Ilham Ahmed noted that Turkey is trying to extend its hegemony over the region and implement its expansionist projects by invoking one of its documents that justifies its intervention and occupation of neighboring regions, which is the “Milli Charter”, In addition to Turkey promotes a number of accusations against the residents of the northern Syrian regions, calling them terrorists, as well as its historical hostility to the Kurdish people.
“Turkey practices genocide against the Kurdish people, and it works whenever it has the opportunity to practice its crimes against them, and its models in Syria warn of a grave danger that threatens the unity of the Syrian territory, and we believe that it is necessary to confront and expose these projects.” She added.
Turkish practices in the occupied areas such as Afrin, Ras Al-Ain and Tal Abyad are classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity according to reports and documents of international organizations. They practice ethnic cleansing, demographic change and systematic Turkification operations targeting Syrian culture and its symbols.
“We are not advocates of war but we are advocates of peace”
We believe that Turkish threats as serious threats, and we try by our diplomatic relations, communication with the active countries regarding the Syrian file, such as the United States of America and the Russian Federation, to deter Turkey and obligate it to the agreements signed in 2019. Our position is obvious on this, which is to maintain stability. We are not advocates of war, but we are advocates of peace, and we try not to have any military campaigns on these areas where nearly five million Syrians live in, including those who came from the areas of control of the authority in Damascus, or from the areas controlled by the Turkish-backed factions, and a large number of Syrians so there is a large population, and any campaign will cause a humanitarian catastrophe on the all levels.
Recently, there were contacts and dialogues with the Russian side and the authority in Damascus to strengthen the fronts and spread them along the borders, and these dialogues are still ongoing, and we accept any efforts to prevent Turkey from occupying more Syrian territories.
The nature of the relationship with local and international powers
In the northeastern regions of Syria, we are dealing with a very complex file, which is the relationship with the international powers and the balance among them, where Russia, the United States of America and the powers of the Damascus authority are present on this small Syrian territory.
We have contacts with the various powers present, and we seek to create a balance among these powers, as well as we believe that they are necessary in order to maintain the stability of the region and not be subjected to any attack and to prevent clashes among these powers.
Who are we? and who are we with?
Many Syrians ask us the question; Are you with the Syrian regime or are you with the revolution? We define ourselves as the leaders of the revolution but there may be a difference in the mechanisms and the vision, thus we are with a new Syria, we reject the return of Syria with its strict centralization, support change and Syrians obtaining of all their rights, and we call for deliverance from rude centralism.
We agree with everyone who calls for change and achieves the aspirations of the Syrian people.
Many opposition groups have adopted hostility to the Autonomous Administration project. Instead of directing their energy to confront the tyrannical regime, these groups have become opposed to the Autonomous Administration, which seeks to preserve the unity of the Syrian territory.
We are still on the same path, we seek for Syria to remain united, and our dialogues in Stockholm are regarding this path, and it is one of the methods and means that will lead to build trust and make understandings among Syrians and thus achieving the desired goal.
Some of the Syrians were confused about our characterization; are we loyal to the Syrian regime or separatists? In general, we cannot be loyal to the Syrian regime and separatists at the same time. These people get their information from Turkish channels and media, which are affiliated with Turkey, and they spread hatred and enmity against us.
“We invite everyone who hears about us by channels that broadcast hatred and hostility, to visit the regions of northern and eastern Syria to see the reality closely. We are open to dialogues, communication, all methods of understanding and civilized communication so we should engage in dialogue as Syrians, and listen to some directly without intermediaries.” she said.
“We believe that the Syrian regime bears responsibility for the state of situations in Syria”
We believe that the authority in Damascus bears the greater part of the responsibility regarding the Syrian crisis because it was able to avoid all of that by starting to make the democratic change, accept popular demands and hold real dialogues with Syrians to reach a comprehensive political resolution, but as a result of intransigence and insistence on Military resolutions, Syria has reached to a bad situation and has allowed for foreign interventions such as Turkey, Russia, Qatar, Iran……etc to intervene regarding Syria’s affairs. All the interventions were as the result of the regime’s intransigence, and its insistence on not carrying out the process of change, and this intransigence still exists.
If we want for Syria to be strong, all Syrians must obtain their full rights without discrimination, and all its components must feel their national diversity, and that they belong to this country voluntarily and are participating in its construction.
“The continued exclusion of the components will lead to the division of Syria, and we are alarmed of that”
We are alarmed that the tendency of Syria to partition will be as a result of the procrastination regarding the political process. The Constitutional Committee has not yet made any progress, and the political process in Geneva has not achieved anything. What has it achieved so far?
Because the structure of the political process suffers from a fundamental defect, so it was necessary to set correct basic rules for this process, and until now there is a determination not to change the situation or reform it.
In this method, we will not see the results of this political process, as long as we are facing each other, and in a state of hostility as well as we make accusations against each other, for example accusing us as we are separatists and we work for the interests of America and others.
As Syrians, it is necessary to feel these dangers regarding the future of Syria, work together to correct the political path and start a serious and constructive dialogue.
The Kurds and talking about injustice
The entire Syrian people were subjected to injustice, but Kurds who have been the most oppressed during the past decades.
The Kurdish issue is a model for the entire Syrian tragedy. Resolving the Kurdish issue within a constitutional framework is very important. We believe that it is necessary to end this tragedy, and in this regard, we don’t talk about injustice, but rather we mean by it as a fundamental issue. The Syrian regime still believes that Kurds as guests in this region.
Talking about learning in the Kurdish language, and giving Kurds only two hours, just like in English or French language, is unfair to the Kurds, and to other peoples who have the right to learn in their mother tongue.
“I am Syrian of a Kurdish origin, and I am Kurdish-Syrian”
By talking about decentralization and the Autonomous Administration, we do not mean a secession, referendums, or a project similar to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and we believe that Kurdistan Region of Iraq is as an experience that has taken place, and that the situation in Iraq is completely different. As a result of internal conflicts and foreign interventions that were present in Iraqi society, that led to a state of division in society.
We are as Syrians, if we do not reach understandings, we will not be better than the Iraqi society. We must reach strategic understandings regarding the future of Syria. We are ready to engage in dialogue with all Syrian parties on the future of our country, and the Kurdish issue is a part of the Syrian issue. I am Syrian of a Kurdish origin, and I am Kurdish-Syrian.
The Kurds of Syria and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party
There are those who say that Kurdistan Workers’ Party has monopolized the decision of the Kurds of Syria, and we say this is not right. The decision of the Syrian Kurds remains the same decision, and they are the ones who decide.
The history of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Syria is not new, but rather it is old, and the party’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan, had met with many Syrian figures, whether Arab, Syriac or Armenian, and he had an old activity in Syria, and the Syrian Kurdish popular base is influenced by this thought and there are a large number of people of Kurds who are involved in the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, so this relationship remains an intellectual and moral relationship, and the role of the Workers’ Party is a supportive role and not a controlling role of the will of the Kurds in Syria or the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). This accusation is a Turkish argument to incite public opinion and implement its plans in the region.
Talking about the relationship with Israel
Some of the participants in the symposium mentioned that there is a relationship and communication between the Autonomous Administration and Israel. This is not true. There are no direct relations or communication between us and Israel. When talking about Israel, it is present in the Middle East and Palestine as well. In our opinion, all existing issues in the Middle East must be resolved via dialogue, and that all obtain their rights. The Palestinian people have the right to do so, and their cause is the cause of a people demanding their rights. It is a national issue and it people striving for it, but in the recent period the majority of Arab countries have tendency towards normalization with Israel, and we hope that the Palestinian issue will be resolved via dialogue and that the Palestinian people will obtain their full rights.