Assad regime says it will continue to provide weaponry, money to Kurds

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 20.04.2015 21:29
Updated 21.04.2015 10:34

According to recent statements by a top Syrian regime diplomat given to Rudaw – a northern Iraq based Kurdish media outlet – the Bashar Assad regime will continue to provide the Kurdish rebels belonging to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria with military and financial support. Ali Haidar, the Syrian Reconciliation Minister, speaking to Rudaw said, "We have been providing all possible military assistance for the Kurdish forces in order to empower them against terror."

While the government of Turkey has devoted great effort to successfully finalizing the reconciliation process, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in late March compared Assad to other dictators and said he was no different from Hitler, Slobodan Miloševic or Saddam Hussein. However, the Syrian minister of the Assad regime in his statements said, "We [the Syrian regime] are still providing them with our support in order to defeat the terrorist organizations."

The PYD and its armed forces – the People's Protection Units (YPG) - are known as the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which is on the terror list of many countries, including the U.S., EU and Turkey. But the leader of the PYD, Salih Muslim, said on Monday that his party is not part of the PKK. However, he admitted they have close ties with both the PKK and the Iraqi Kurdish Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The PKK has been in a long war against Turkey with the aim of separating the southeast of Turkey in order to establish an independent Kurdistan that will contain Kurdish areas in Syria, Iraq and Iran. Turkey has started a reconciliation process by making investments in the area and presenting a democratization package.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu, as well as other authorities from the government, have repeatedly underlined that Turkey is against the Assad regime and other parties collaborating with it. The government continues to emphasize that the removal of the Assad regime is a necessity in an effort to fight the chaos in the region. In addition, Turkey has tightened security measures on two of its border gates with Syria in a bid to hamper any possible emergence of a security issue created by the Assad regime. According to intelligence received in Ankara, Assad aims to reciprocate Turkey's vigorous efforts in the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) by creating chaos in Turkey ahead of the June elections. In this regard, the Syrian Reconciliation Minister Haidar's statements, which affirms that Damascus will continue to provide Kurdish rebels in Syrian Kurdistan with military and financial support, confirms a coalition with the regime and the YPG that would also affect Turkey's reconciliation process with the Kurdish communities.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said in early March that Assad is the cause of all the problems in Syria, and noted that the biggest support the terrorist organizations get is from the Syrian regime. He added, "It is not a realistic approach to think if Assad withdraws support from these terrorist organizations, it will ease things."

Violence has been rampant in Syria, first surfacing with the beginning of the civil war in 2011 and continuing with the rise of ISIS, which has taken control of parts of Syria and Iraq. The Assad regime, which has killed thousands of civilians in the war-torn country, is deemed by the government to be the main reason for the emergence and rise of ISIS in the region.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter