Turkey divides Syria Kurds by inciting them to join militants

Turkey divides Syria Kurds by inciting them to join militants
Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:02:20

Foreign-backed Takfiri groups in northern Syria are losing to Kurdish militias, a top Kurdish leader has said, marking an improvement that is not welcomed by Turkey.

Saleh Muslim, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Reuters in Paris that Tuesday’s announcement of an interim administration that aims to carve out an autonomous Syrian Kurdish region was only “provisional” until there was a viable solution to the charged insurgency in the country.

“About 3,000 of those Salafists have been killed. At the beginning they were strong, but now they aren’t so strong,” said Muslim.

Unlike huge military and financial support to the salafi militant groups, Muslim said they have been funding their fight on their own.

“We have found no allies and paid for our own bullets.”

Muslim said the PYD had received aid, money and weapons from the Iraq-based Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan as well as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Rising Kurdish assertiveness in Syria puts Turkey in a tough position as it tries to make peace with the PKK.

Muslim said Turkey has been trying hard to stop Kurd’s improvements.

“They are trying to divide the Kurds by bringing certain (Kurdish) parties into the (opposition) Syrian National Coalition (SNC),” he said. “They are just trying to keep the Kurds from representing themselves.”

Turkey has been one of the greatest supporters of the war in Syria to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

When asked if the recent successes could embolden Syrian Kurdish forces to go beyond majority-controlled Kurdish areas, Muslim said they had no desire to go broader, but would aid all those in areas where Kurds and Arabs lived together.

“We are willing to go to places where we are living together. It is not our job to go to areas where there are no Kurds,” he said.

Syrian Kurds number over two million of the total of more than 25 million Kurds in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq - a group of people often described as the world's largest ethnic group without a state.


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