PYD co-chairman Hasan: “Russia demands that we be at the table at Sochi!”
Syria will not be secure even after the defeat of Islamic State (ISIS), Sahoz Hasan, one of the new co-chairs of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Ahval the country would not be secure after ISIS was defeated.
Hasan said the Syrian Kurdish PYD, and its military arm the YPG, would stand against any further Turkish incursion into the areas of northern Syria it controls and would definitely attend Russian-sponsored Syrian peace talks in the southern Russian city of Sochi, despite Turkish objections.
As it appears that ISIS may be defeated soon, do you believe that Syria will become a secure and normalised country?
It is not possible. We think the aftermath of ISIS will be very dangerous. Only a complete eradication of terror personnel and cells can guarantee that similar terror groups will not re-emerge. This is the basic responsibility collectively of Syria, regional powers and international organisations and will require great amounts of both intelligence and material resources.
There will be lone wolves acting on their own and sleeper terror cells awakening, ready to inflict terror and create danger around the world.
That’s why it is too early to discuss a final solution. It is not easy to establish a clear political system, nor is it easy to find a solution for the Syrian crisis. Even though there have been seven conferences in Geneva, there has been no conference on the real Syrian issue.
Do you expect any military conflict between yourselves and the Syrian government after ISIS has been forced out?
As we are operating in a third area, we have always worked towards managing the region’s resources and borders and made sure to address the needs and concerns of all, including Syrians.
That’s why it was impossible for terror groups to enter our region. We stopped armed militants from entering our territory and hurting the people, specifically Kurdish people. So, contrary to what is happening in other parts of Syria, things are pretty quiet and normal in our region. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees from other areas have come to our region due to the civil war and internal conflict.
I hope we have no conflict with Syria. But, contrary to what some expect, we didn’t conquer territory from ISIS at the expense of thousands of dead heroes only to turn it over to the Syrian regime.
If our territories and people are threatened, we will not stand around with our hands tied. But, in general, I don’t think there will be any conflict. No one wants the regime, and no one, either regionally or worldwide, wants more conflict.
It is being alleged that there are issues among the Kurds, as well, and that there is a problem of balance among those entering the projected elections in Rojava (the Kurdish parts of Syria) and northern Syria. What are your thoughts on this subject?
We have spoken with all parties, and told them that if during elections for autonomy, they have any concerns, no matter what the reason, to discuss it publicly.
We have informed everyone that elections will be held within legally, internationally established standards, and that there will be domestic, Kurdish and international election observers throughout the election.
We don’t think there is a problem as the other side claims. They are always trying to raise question marks. It seems to be their purpose, to cause roadblocks for all sides. An unquestionable electoral victory is a win for Rojava and northern Syria.
Do you think regional elections will bring international recognition?
The United Nations and the U.N. Security Council support autonomous government as a solution to the Syrian crisis. Furthermore, the people who escaped from the violence also support an autonomous parliament in this region.
The elections are the result of steps taken with other groups and political parties. Also, these elections are part of the solution of the Syrian crisis and will be an important part of Rojava and northern Syria.
To date, 82 countries have recognised Raqqa’s civilian parliament and are providing support. There will be a Federated Northern Syria with their help, along with the help of other regional governments or other countries. But, we have to be proactive to meet all needs.
There is some concern that Turkey will attack the PYD-controlled northwestern enclave of Afrin. Do you think Russia will follow through on its commitment to protect Afrin in such circumstances?
To me, a more important question is this: Why is Turkey threatening Afrin and all of Rojava?
I think all parties will take a stand against Turkey’s attacks against any area in Syria, which will be an important step.
So, because of this, combined with Russia’s support, Turkey will not be able to attack Afrin. Right now, eastern Syria and the western Euphrates are divided into two autonomous regions. The western Euphrates is completely under Russian control. Turkey’s threats and activities in Afrin are carried out to create roadblocks to the democratic solutions we want to implement and prevent an autonomous federation. They want to implement their own solutions in the region.
If Turkey does attack, do you think the U.S. military in the region will protect you against Turkey?
As I mentioned, western Euphrates is under Russian control. But, if Russia had not given Turkey the green light, Turkey would not have been able to enter Jarablus, El Rai, El Ezaz and El Bab.
If Turkey does attack, though, it will be a disaster for them, for we know our strength and are fully confident.
Also, in the not too far future, Turkey may itself suffer a huge, internal tsunami.
Primarily the Kurds, but also other peoples in Turkey see (Turkish President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan as a huge problem. A real concern is that if and when elections are held, they will be held under a state of emergency.
The news reports state that you will be part of the upcoming meetings in Sochi? What are your ideas for Syria’s future? Are you insistent on a federal system in Syria?
It’s not really about whether we are politically insistent or stubborn. Syria was formed from several confederated governments. Of course, this was 80 years or more ago.
If Syria is to remain an independent country and be effective regionally and globally, we have to accept the diverse population in the country. The area is made up of many different ethnic groups, religions and ideologies. When we speak of regional federations, we aren’t just talking about fixing the Kurdish problem, but also looking to share power with the central government and growing the economy.
We are going to be at the Sochi meetings. We are constantly in contact with Moscow and Russia is insistent that we be at the meetings. We will present our plans at that conference. Our presence at these meetings is critical and vital to finding a solution to the crisis.