Syrian Kurdish political rifts escalate between PYD, ENKS

ENKS Leader

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Ibrahim Biro, the head of Syria’s Kurdish National Council (ENKS), sat with Kurdistan24 on Monday and discussed the latest developments in the Syrian civil war.

He also addressed the relations between the Erbil-based ENKS in general and the Rojava-based Democratic Union Party (PYD) in particular.


On the border crossing between the Kurdistan Region and Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) that was closed for three months, Biro said that opening the border crossing only for trade and human aid is not enough.

“The border should be open for people as well. I mean the Syrian Kurds who are living in Kurdistan should be able to visit their relatives in Syria whenever they want, and vice versa,” he said.

Regarding the reason why the border is not open for people’s visits, Biro said, “PYD uses [the border] for extracting money from people, and moreover the Syrian Kurds who are still living in Rojava are not allowed to visit their relatives in the Kurdistan Region.”

“The border crossing should be open for all people of Rojava,” Biro added, pointing out that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) may ask the PYD to expand the purpose of the border.


On the restriction that Rojava was suffering before opening the border with the Kurdistan Region, Biro said that PYD’s wrong policies isolated Rojava from the rest of the world.

“PYD refused any relation with neighboring countries, and they prefer that people in Rojava remain in isolation. Due to this policy, Rojava is closed from all sides. Even goods that come from other Syrian cities are confiscated and taxed by PYD authorities,” he said.

Biro added that there were very common misconceptions about the border gate in terms of export and import.

“People think that Rojava receives many materials from the KRG, but in fact, the KRG imports large quantities of foodstuff and livestock from Rojava. This is why opening the border may be a disadvantage,” he explained.

“Rojava imports sugar, and rice or tea comes from the KRG, but the KRG imports most materials like vegetables, mutton, livestock, wheat, cotton, and more from Rojava,” Biro said.


Regarding the reason why ENKS describes the PYD as an agent for the Syrian government that persecutes people but a group that ENKS seeks partnership with, Biro said that they have a right to be a part of the political process in Rojava.

“Being a partner with PYD is very hard as it tortures and kidnaps the politicians that are against its policy and burns their offices, but this does not mean that most Kurds spend their life as refugees and immigrants just because they are against PYD,” he explained.

Additionally, Biro clarified that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was responsible for the mass migrations of Kurds from Kurdish areas in Turkey. Likewise, he said that PYD’s practices have led to the same results in Rojava.

“Since PYD ruled Rojava, hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds left the country because of the dictatorial practices and autocracy,” Biro stated.


Biro warned that the escalating situation that PYD caused may lead the people of Rojava to revolt against them.

“Although sometimes we did not resort to protests in the past for the demonstrators’ safety, we will carry on our rallies, and the situation may reach the extent of an uprising,” he said.  

“We will no longer bend our heads for PYD’s dictatorial practices and autocracy,” Biro added.  

However, PYD authorities claim that they only arrest those who violate the laws and regulations of demonstrations in Rojava.

PYD officials say that any demonstration should be approved by Rojava authorities so that they can deploy security guards to protect the demonstrators.

Rojava officials say that because ENKS demonstrations do not seek the authorities’ approval, they are arrested, or their marches are stopped.

Biro answered that they do not pursue the PYD authorities’ approval for sit-ins or demonstrations because he considers the administration of Rojava that PYD rules as illegitimate.

“All representation offices for PYD in Europe do not represent Rojava or the Syrian Kurds. Such offices are so easy to open. They only require a sponsor or an organization,” he said.


Regarding the gains by the PYD and Syrian Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, with US support, Biro said this is not considered a diplomatic victory for the PYD.

“Both US and Russian administrations state that the support for the Kurdish forces in Syria is military, and until now there are no initiatives or negotiations in the political domain,” he said.

Biro further explained that the US administration learned a lesson from the Iraq war 10 years ago.

“Now, [the US] do not deploy their forces on the ground. They are only looking for effective forces in Syria, YPG for example, and support them,” he said.

“US and Russia’s support for the YPG is a temporary interest,” Biro said, explaining that PYD’s exclusion from the Geneva talks is an evidence of their diplomatic loss.


On the latest military operations launched by the YPG-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on IS strongholds in Syria, Biro said that fighting terrorism in the non-Kurdish areas is required, but not a priority.

“PYD should learn from the policy of the Kurdistan Region in fighting against IS. The KRG has not attacked Mosul until now because there are still negotiations on how it shall be ruled after liberation,” Biro concluded.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Adla Ahmad conducted the interview in Erbil)