QAMISHLO, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) - The ruling party in the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria (Rojava) has closed down almost all offices and headquarters belonging to their political opponents, officials said on Saturday.
PYD-led authorities maintain that they have closed only the "unlicensed" offices.
The Kurdish authorities led by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) waged an extensive campaign of shutting down the offices of their rivals last week, including Syria's Kurdish National Council (ENKS).
Speaking to Kurdistan24, Shamdin Nabi, an ENKS official in the Kurdish northeastern city of Qamishlo, said their office was closed down by the Kurdish Security (Asasyish).
"We [ENKS] will not stop our political activities, and closing the offices is a negative point on the authorities' side, not ours," he said.
The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, though not included in the list of PYD's opponents, announced three offices in Rojava were closed down by the Kurdish Security (Asayish).
Additionally, a Syria-based human rights monitor Northern Syria Observer (NSO) confirmed that dozens of offices and headquarters were closed in Rojava in a week.
"44 Headquarters and offices of organizations, civil society movements, women and youth unions, and Kurdish were closed in 3 Days by PYD," NSO reported on Thursday.
Two weeks ago, the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria (PDK-S) and Kurdish Union Party (Yekiti) in the city of Qamishlo were attacked and burned.
In the Kurdish town of Kobani, similar attackers forced members out of the buildings, tore down and burnt Kurdish flags, Kurdistan24 correspondent reported.
PYD insists that it only closed illegitimate offices and the move has been exaggerated to damage their reputation.
Abdulsalam Ahmad, the co-leader of the People's Council affiliated with the PYD, told Kurdistan24 that some of the ENKS members burned their offices to distort the reputation of the ruling party in Rojava and its achievements and victories against the Islamic State (IS).
Tensions in Rojava escalated shortly after the clashes erupted between a brigade of the Peshmerga forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) affiliates in the Ezidi town of Khanasor in Shingal (Sinjar), Kurdistan Region.
Roj Peshmerga, the armed wing of the ENKS made up of Kurds from Syria, is the brigade that clashed with the local PKK force called Shingal Resistance Units (YBS).
SYRIAN-KURDISH INTERNAL CONFLICT
After the breakout of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Syrian Kurds were fractured into two main councils: TEV-DEM and ENKS.
One council rules the Kurdish-held areas in Rojava called the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM in Kurdish).
TEV-DEM, a political coalition led by the PYD and other Kurdish parties, is operating a system of three “autonomous administrations.”
These administrations include Jazira, Kobani, and Afrin in Syria’s north, with independent police forces and schools.
The federal system, declared by TEV-DEM on March 17, united these cantons under a single administrative unit.
The other Syrian Kurdish Council, ENKS, was founded in Erbil on Oct. 26, 2011, with the support of the President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani.
ENKS was part of the Turkey-based Syrian Arab opposition and has been in political conflicts with the PYD-led administration of Rojava.
Editing by Ava Homa