Rojava peshmerga’s entry into Syria would change balance in the region: KNC head

Kurdish National Council head Ibrahim Biro.

The leader of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC), Ibrahim Biro, has said the entry of the Rojava Peshmerga, a 7,000 strong force affiliated to the KNC, into the autonomous region in northern Syria, would change the balance of things on the ground.

Speaking to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency during meetings with US officials in Washington, the Syrian Kurdish politician said his delegation had presented a report of the suppression they faced from the dominant Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

“The PYD’s political language is violence. They are afraid of the KNC’s effective diplomacy and politics. This is why they are engaging in violence,” he said, referring to the party as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

An office belonging to the KNC was burned down by protestors in Qamishli city, northern Syria on Saturday, after clashes between Rojava Peshmerga and Yazidi forces over the Iraqi border in Shingal led to the death of five Yazidi fighters and two PKK militants the day before. Local security (Asayish) arrested the perpetrators and guards were placed at all KNC offices across Rojava, ARA News reported

Biro denied claims the violence in Shingal had been initiated by the Rojava Peshmerga, who are affiliated with the Barzani-led Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and partly trained by Turkish forces, saying, “We are aware of how they [PYD] are trying to create infighting between Kurds. We are not going to fall in this trap, but neither are we going to surrender.”

The politician, who has been accused by the PYD of working in line with Turkish policies and was forced to leave Rojava for being a security threat, also said the KNC had seen that the US did not have a clear Syria policy.

“We told US officials of the effective role the KNC could play in Rojava and how it could change the balance. We told them that the PYD was the wrong ally,” Biro said.

Meanwhile Siyamend Haco, the foreign affairs head of the KNC, who is in the same delegation in Washington told Rudaw News Agency that the US was concerned over the infighting between Kurdish forces.

Officials of Rojava’s autonomous administration have rejected the presence of ‘Roj-Pesh’ forces saying a separate armed group to the region’s Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) could lead to a internal clashes in the area. The KNC has rejected its forces being deployed under the command of the YPG, an offer made by the autonomous administration.

Commentators have said the entry of the ‘Roj-Pesh’ into Rojava would create a situation similar to that in Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq, where peshmerga forces belonging to the KDP are dominant in Erbil, while in Sulaimani, another major city, the peshmerga of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) are in control. This has led to internal clashes on several occasions and consistently leads to tensions.

The KNC is also a part of the Turkey and Gulf-backed Syrian National Council (SNC), the umbrella organisation of the Syrian Opposition, and has participated in recent Astana and Geneva talks. Formed of about 12 Kurdish political parties, the group has international recognition due to its relations with Turkey and the KDP but lacks popular support on the ground. Its detractors say this is due to its alliance with the SNC, which has refused to recognise Kurdish self determination in Syria.