Syrian Kurdish PYD co-leader dismisses possibility of ‘being used as pawns’

Salih Muslim speaks at the lectern in Hamburg University, 16 April 2017.

The co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim, has said the only guarantee the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in Syria’s north has against the influence of international powers is the organisational capacity of its people.

Muslim spoke at a conference held at Hamburg University entitled, ‘Challenging Capitalist Modernity,’ on Sunday.

Responding to a question about where the autonomous administration would “draw the line” on US support and the support of other “super powers,” the PYD co-leader said, “Our guarantee is our mindset. It depends on how much we educate and organise our people. If we defend our morals and ideology then bigger powers cannot use us as pawns.”

The co-leader of the PYD said they had succeeded in defending their ideas and had engaged in “honest politics” until now.

“Our political line becomes more successful and is holding and spreading as time goes by. We are forming a democratic society in the country’s north.”

Muslim, who has been denied a visa to visit the US, criticised the government and said his party could have more of an influence and receive the support of the American people if they were allowed.

“We are travelling around Europe despite limitations and can see that it is having an effect. Our relations and work is our only guarantee, apart from this we have no guarantee,” he reiterated.

The Kurdish politician also said they didn’t have control over the actions of international forces present in Syria.

“We don’t have any control of the bigger powers. They have their interests and we have ours. They cannot do anything without us. If they engage in any acts that are not moral then we will struggle and fight them as well. But our main objective is to organise a strong and democratic society and we are concentrating on this.”

The PYD is the most influential party in the Kurdish-led Democratic Federation of North Syria (DFNS), also known as Rojava.