ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Ibrahim Biro, the head of Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS), sat with Kurdistan24 on Sunday and discussed the latest developments in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) amid the civil war.
He also explained the escalation of the situation between the Democratic Union Party (PYD)-led ruling council of Rojava and ENKS.
ARREST & EXTRADITION OF POLITICIANS
Biro began by addressing the arrest and extradition of politicians and activists in Rojava by the PYD-led council and security forces.
“On Saturday, while I was visiting our offices affiliated to the ENKS in Qamishlo, Rojava Security Forces [Asayish] arrested me,” he said.
The Asayish took him to a security center outside Qamishlo. The center is in a village called Navkure between Qamishlo and Amuda.
He remained in the Asayish center for about six hours without being investigated.
At midnight, he was transported to Rabiaa border crossing between Syria and Iraq.
“The purpose of my arrest is clear, though [the Asayish] didn’t say it explicitly. It is to cover up their failures,” Biro said.
“The Asayish committed many violations recently. They raided our offices and burnt many others, and my arrest is one of their violations,” he continued.
Biro explained that the PYD-led administration is confused for its many failures in managing the situation in Rojava.
“PYD acts against the politicians, whether it be arrests, torture, or extradition, these acts are out of indiscretion and recklessness in a situation of failure,” he said.
On his arrest and extradition, Biro said ENKS had been active recently in the domain of politics and international relations.
He said this move angered the PYD which failed to achieve the needs and aspirations of the people in Rojava.
PYD SUCCEEDED OR FAILED IN ROJAVA?
Syrian Kurdish officials and diplomats stated in previous interviews and conferences that the Rojava administration gained achievements in the military, political, and administrative domains.
Within two years, the YPG and YPG-led forces liberated wide areas in northern Syria.
Additionally, the Kurdish administration of Rojava opened many diplomatic missions in Europe, including France, Russia, Germany, Sweden, and soon in the United States. Recently, they voted for a federal system in Syria.
On the administrative level, Rojava developed many systems for the civil life, including municipal institutions, women’s empowerment, health facilities, education, etc.
Politically, Biro stated that the PYD seeks international support, but in vain.
“Before the Turkish-Russian reconciliation, we visited Russia and asked the officials whether they made any promises to the PYD for involvement in the Geneva talks as an independent Kurdish delegation, but Russian officials denied those alleged promises,” Biro revealed.
“Russian officials said that they sought to make the Syrian opposition delegation stronger and wider, and PYD’s claim about an independent Kurdish delegation is not true,” Biro said.
Administratively, Biro commented that the PYD-led administration had not offered valuable services to people.
“Mere slogans and words offered to people, not actions. For example, many cities and towns still suffer from lack of electricity and water,” Biro said.
Biro further explained that unemployment increased dramatically and people have not stopped complaining.
He pointed out that people in Rojava are asked to pay many kinds of taxes daily, and not in a systematic way.
This was one of the reasons that led many Syrian Kurds to seek refuge in the Kurdistan Region and Europe.
[Kurdistan24 presenter Dilshad Mella interviews Ibrahim Biro, leader of Syria's Kurdish National Council (ENKS), Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Aug. 14, 2016. (Photo: Kurdistan24)]
ROJAVA: DE FACTO AUTONOMOUS REGION OR NOT?
In another part of the interview, Biro stated that Rojava is not autonomous, outlining several reasons.
“Someone may ask how the administration that I don’t recognize could detain me for six hours and then extradite me outside Rojava, but I say that this is only an authority from a temporary haphazard military power,” he said.
“The PYD-led administration cannot even be called a de facto authority. It is a proxy authority for the Syrian government,” Biro said.
“The PYD-led administration does not have the absolute authority over Syrian Kurdistan. The Syrian government still rules the central provinces of Rojava, Hasaka and Qamishlo,” Biro said.
POTENTIAL OF INFIGHTING IN ROJAVA?
On the political rifts in Rojava between the PYD-led council and their opposition, Biro said strenuous efforts are exerted to prevent any Kurdish on Kurdish clashes.
“The one who transported me had threatened that if I come back to Rojava, I will be cut into pieces,” Biro said. “I will be back in Rojava and without fighting.”
Biro added that his extradition from Rojava does not mean that ENKS no longer exists in the region.
“No authority can stop our activity as our offices and hundreds of thousands of supporters are still living in Rojava,” Biro said.
The ENKS leader said his return to Rojava would depend on the legitimacy of his party’s activity.
“It’s not a matter of a military force, because the armed force would surely end if it violates the human rights treaties and legitimacy,” Biro stated.
“We don’t want to send these units to Rojava by force lest infighting occurs because of the disagreement between Rojava ruling party [PYD] and the opposition [ENKS],” Biro said.
Biro further explained that Rojava Peshmerga received training and support in the Kurdistan Region for fighting against IS, not for fighting against the PYD.
“Rojava Peshmerga forces were founded for defending the Kurds, not for killing the Kurds,” Biro said.
On the role that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plays in easing the tension between PYD and ENKS, Biro said a civil war would have begun in Rojava but the KRG made efforts to prevent it.
“President Masoud Barzani is the safety valve who prevents the occurrence of infighting between the conflicting Kurdish parties,” Biro concluded.
Subhi Batal, a Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga Colonel, previously spoke to Kurdistan24 regarding the reason preventing Rojava Peshmerga from joining YPG.
“Our main duty is to fight [IS] in Rojava, but unfortunately, some political rifts between parties prevent us from taking part in the fighting,” Batal said.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Kurdistan24 presenter Dilshad Mella conducted the interview in Erbil)