While in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq to conduct meetings with other Kurdish political parties, TEV-DEM (Movement for a Democratic Society) executive committee member Aldar Khalil talked to Hawar News Agency about the possibility of having two military forces in Rojava-Northern Syria.
The Kurdish National Council (KNC), founded in Erbil in 2011 under the sponsorship of the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani, has remained in opposition to TEV-DEM since its formation and has always maintained that a second fighting force loyal to itself should be allowed to operate in Rojava.
Khalil criticised the KNC for its approach to the matter, especially in its diplomatic activities, claiming, “there are certain parties like the KNC operating in Rojava who do not recognise the autonomous administration. This leads to disturbances among the people. Parties affiliated to the KNC are requesting that the YPG/YPJ be deemed a terrorist organisation in their diplomatic meetings”.
The KNC has claimed that the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) who have been the main fighting force in Rojava are affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Both the PKK and the YPG/YPJ reject this claim. The Turkish government deems the YPG/YPJ as a terrorist organisation and mirrors the KNC’s stance on the matter. The USA and European countries have stated on several occasions that they do not believe the YPG/YPJ is affiliated to the PKK, and hence is not a terrorist organisation.
Responding to demands by the KNC for fighters loyal to itself to be allowed to operate in Rojava, Khalil said, “politically we could have 50 parties and even thousands of organisations, but militarily we should have only one fighting force. All armed groups should be organised under one centre. No matter how deep the political divide, a division in the military could lead to a significant conflict. We do not want this. There is a military system in North Syria where all ethnicities are represented.”
The KNC, which is a part of the Syrian Opposition supported by Turkey and other regional actors, claims the PYD is forming a one-party dictatorship in Northern Syria and has suppressed its work. Other parties, including the PYD and TEV-DEM, have criticised the KNC for not recognising the autonomous administration and working against it.