Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem: The Fall of Kobane Would Be the Fall of Humanity


Anwar Moslem on the right with dark shirt

In an exclusive interview conducted on Wednesday, Ovober 8, 20014, the Premier of local Kurdish Kobane Canton administration Anwar Moslem provides important update about Kobane and ongoing ISIS attacks against the city.

Mutlu Civiroglu


Mr. Moslem, what’s the current situation in Kobane?

ISIS hasn’t withdrawn yet. ISIS is still in the eastern, southeastern and southern [parts of the town. They are a little away from the western section. Clashes continue so far. Fierce ffightings are taking place. They aim for a massacre. There are thousands of civilians here; children, women and elderly. As the resistance is in its 24th day, they want to crush it spitefully with all the civilians as well. The fact is there is heroic resistance here by Kurdish Protection Units (YPG). American and coalition air strikes are very welcome here by our forces and the Canton administration.

Tell me about the civilians inside Kobane. There are reports that all civilians left the city?

Claims that there are no civilians in Kobane are false. Nobody can, nobody dares to get out of their homes as there are fierce clashes and flying bullets everywhere. There are thousands of civilians under the ISIS threat. Some are here in the city; some others are close to the border. Their situation is getting worse and dangerous. Some media say Kobane is empty. It’s not true. There are civilians even in the villages ISIS has overrun. Their situation too is dangerous. I repeat that there are civilians in the town. I can’t give you an exact number, but there are thousands of civilians here. If the media wants we can provide pictures and interviews with civilians. Our main purpose in calling the international community is protecting these civilians, children and women.

American and coalition air strikes have had effective results in the last two days. When jets strike civilians in the city cheer up. They salute American jets. Defense Ministry of the Kobane administration said, in a statement, that our YPG forces and the coalition partners can root out ISIS from the Middle East.

You mentioned airstrikes. How effective are today’s air strikes?

They are effective today as well. But we cannot know how much exactly. As the fighting rages on we can’t determine the effect. We are in touch with our forces who witness air strikes. But they are usually busy in fighting ISIS militants. We don’t want to keep them busy, so we avoid calling them frequently.

The jets carry out a good mission, especially for the well-being of civilians. That’s why the continuation of air strikes in Kobane against ISIS is important. The destruction of ISIS’s tanks, Humvees and other heavy vehicles is of utmost importance. Today they carried out a car bomb attack. That’s why American, British, French and all other coalition partner’s jets should continue targeting ISIS in Kobane Canton. ISIS receives reinforcement from Tal Abyad and Raqqah. The coalition partners should be tracking them better. They must stop them. So that we can finish them off inside Kobane and save the civilians.

Some media reports claim these airstrikes are useless. Are they?

No, they are pretty effective in last two days. As the head of the Canton Administration, I recognize the fact that they are helpful and effective. ISIS militants are using artillery they brought from Mosul, and it is used against the civilians as well. So why should the coalition stop the bombardment? The coalition is saving these civilians and the canton. So be it known by all sides that YPG on the ground with the American and coalition jets overhead can fight ISIS off.

Is YPG capable of expelling ISIS from Kobane?

Yes, as long as their artillery, vehicles and tanks are destroyed, new reinforcements are cut off; we don’t have anti-tank weaponry by the way, our forces can finish them off. YPG has promised to annihilate those thugs.

What about YPG loses and injuries? How many ISIS fighters were killed?

YPG and Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) are the sons and daughters of this people. Most of these fighters are in their twenties. They fight against ISIS looters, thieves whose aim is destruction.


Arin Mirkan

ISIS commits inhuman actions; they behead even our girls. YPG and YPJ are fighting against such a cruel terrorist group.

A young Kurdish woman Arin Mirkan who was a YPJ commander chose to detonate herself among a group of ISIS members. Rather than surrendering to ISIS, she chose sacrificing her life such in such heroic way.

But, we are hopeful that our forces with the help of the coalition partners can fight ISIS till they are annihilated, and we can rebuild peace and stability once more.

What about the reaction of people around the globe to your case? American people are deeply concerned that the Kobane will fall. Similarly people in other corner of the world have similar concerns for you.


The memory of 9/11 is with us. We especially want to reach out to the American people and their government. We know their suffering too. We remember terrorist attacks against civilians in Spain, France and elsewhere. We are aware of what happened innocent journalists and aid workers at terrorists’ hands.

We, as the administration of Kobane Canton, call upon all sides to challenge the threat together as to create security. We believe in support of the American people and people all over the world.

I would like to tank all human rights defenders in becoming a voice for the voiceless Kobane. I am very grateful on behalf of the people of Kobane. I want everyone to know that fall of Kobane would be the fall of humanity. I therefore appeal everyone to stand up for Kobane and stand with us in these very difficult days.



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This interview was translated from Kurdish into English by Ê Din

ISIS Attacks on Kobane and YPG’s Response


Mutlu Civiroglu

After taking over Mosul and some other cities in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) or with its new name Islamic State (IS) has launched a large offensive against Kobane (Ain al-Arab) on Wednesday, July 2. ISIS attacks supported by 10 tanks and other armored vehicles including US Humvees, were concentrated in the west of Kobane around several villages mostly against Zormixar, a strategic village overlooking town of Jarablus.

One important difference of these recent attacks is that ISIS has been employing many Western made heavy weapons seized from Iraqi army around Mosul in the past weeks. Moreover, YPG sources are stating that Iraqi generals from the Saddam era have joined ISIS and are coordinating the attacks against the Kurds. The main questions for Syria analysts was whether or not the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) had advanced weaponry and military capabilities that could repel these attacks and keep control of the region.

Two days after the offensive, on Friday, the YPG withdrew from Zormixar and other villages after ISIS bombarded the region with over 3000 mortars. Although YPG forces stated that this was a tactical move, some analysts interpreted this as a sign of possible defeat. After fierce clashes between the two sides, YPG forces managed to take back control of Zormixar as well as Khrab Ato, Bayadia, Ziyareteh and Jadidah villages. Currently some smaller scale clashes continue with remaining ISIS fighters, but local sources say the situation is pretty much under YPG control and the morale of the people of high.

YPG Media Office announced on Sunday, July 6 that ISIS offensive had been broken and around 200 ISIS fighters were killed. Sources that I spoke with in Kobane also verified that a lot of ISIS fighters had been killed and that their unburied bodies were scattered all over the battle field. Local sources also report that some of the fighters were blonde haired and bright skinned in appearance. According to YPG statements around 40 of their own fighters lost their lives in these recent attacks.

YPG also announced that its forces destroyed several ISIS tanks and other vehicles as well as seizing a wide range of weapons and ammunition.

Why Does ISIS Focus it’s Attacks on Kobane?
ISIS attacks against Kobane are significant for several reasons. First, with the recent confidence gained by taking over Mosul and other cities in Iraq, ISIS wants to expand its control over a larger territory of Syria as well. After seizing two oil fields from a rival extremist group, ISIS wants to seize Kobane which remains in the middle of territories under its control. ISIS currently controls Girsespi (Tall Abyad), Jarablus and Raqqah. It desperately wants Kobane to connect the regions under its control and make it a part of the “Islamic State”. Taking control of such an important city will enable ISIS to seize new territories from the direction of east and west, in addition to connecting Tall Abyad and Jarablus.

Furthermore, being a border city with Suruc of Sanliurfa province of Turkey, seizing Kobane will also allow ISIS to control the Mursitpinar Border Gate with Turkey as well. It is well known that ISIS gives specific importance to border gates especially for trade, easy crossing for fighters and logistics, the treatment of injured fighters etc. In this regard, it is increasingly likely that ISIS will plan attacks on other border crossings controlled by the Kurds like Serekaniye and Til Kochar (Yarubia), and crossings controlled by rival Islamist groups in Azaz.

In addition, ISIS also wants to cut Kobane from the Kurdish Mountain Region (Kurd Dagh) or Canton of Afrin and Canton of Jazira (Hasakah). As of now, moving between three Kurdish Cantons is difficult. According to local officials, currently hundreds of civilians are also held hostage in Jarablus and Tall Abyad. Also some 130 Kurdish students who were kidnapped by the group remain in captivity for over a month after they were kidnapped as they were returning from school exams in Aleppo. Despite all calls from international human rights groups those children and other civilians are still not released and are being used as a bargaining chip to pressurize YPG, according to local human rights defenders.
If Kobane falls to ISIS, such a possibility will bring some additional advantages for ISIS to further pursue its goals. It is apparent that ISIS does not hesitate to use any means to seize the city including kidnapping civilians and crucifying them, destroying houses and taking properties and even cutting off the water of the city.

Due to the fact that the taking of Kobane will be very advantageous for ISIS, it is not holding back from committing all sorts of cruelty against the people. ISIS is kidnapping civilians, publicly crucifying them and killing them by torture. Local sources are frequently reporting that ISIS is ransacking civilian homes and confiscating civilian property. As a matter of fact, it is well known that ISIS has on several occasions cut off the drinking water supply to Kobane.

One other factor to remember is that Kobane is the first city in Rojava to have been freed from the Assad regime on July 19, 2012. Therefore, the city has a special meaning for Kurds in Rojava. If the Kurds lose this city it will also have a demoralizing impact on them and their struggle for self-rule. Therefore, attacking Kobane is also attacking the massive gains of the Kurds in Syria, and a message for Kurds that ISIS [and its regional supporters] will not allow Kurdish autonomy in Syria. YPG sources and local officials expect that ISIS will be very likely to intensify its attacks as the second anniversary of the Kurdish takeover of the city approaches.

In fact, already news has come in that on Monday and Tuesday July 7and 8, ISIS launched new attacks on Kobane from the south and the east. YPG announced that in the fighting that occurred 35km south of Kobane close to Kunheftar, 40 members of ISIS were killed and that 2 YPG fighters had lost their lives.

YPG, along with the Kurdish Front (KF) and some other Free Syrian Army (FSA) brigades, also managed to break ISIS attacks from the east of Kobane which were aimed at sandwiching in YPG forces from both directions. It is known that there was intense clashes between YPG fighters and hundreds of ISIS fighters supported by tanks from Tall Abyad who had launched an attack that began on Monday, the 7th of July and continued on Tuesday and Wednesday. Local sources reported that the YPG had destroyed several tanks and killed tens of ISIS members while also adding that the YPH had also suffered serious losses.

On the 9th of July, news came in from Kobane that 2 of the YPG fighters had possibly lost their lives as a result of a chemical weapon. It is worth reminding that the internationally respected Syrian Observatory For Human Rights also reported on this allegation on Wednesday.

As of now, despite ISIS’s possession of advanced weaponry from Iraq, it has been unable to gain the upper hand over the YPG, known for its high military capabilities, its discipline and its popular support. However, as stated above, it is highly likely that ISIS will continue its attacks. In this regard, the statements of the administration of the Kobane Canton, PYD leader Salih Muslim and, on behalf of the KCK, Murat Karayilan on Kobane are very important. Local officials say hundreds of Kobane residents are returning home from neighboring countries to defend their city. Also, hundreds of Kurds from Turkey crossed border to fight against ISIS alongside YPG forces. It is without a doubt that the future of Kobane is both significant for the Kurdish gains in Rojava, and also for the Kurds in other parts.

ISIS Attacks on Hasakah

In the long run reaching Hasakah is one of the major goals of ISIS. But, Hasakah is currently controlled by three different forces, YPG (in Kurdish side of the city), Assad and the opposition. So, it is not that easy for ISIS to take control of Hasakah, but they certainly want to expand their control in Syria.

Hasakah City is the administrative center of the Hasakah governorate. It is an important road junction near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. It is also an important agricultural region; wheat, rice, cotton etc. It is also close to the oil fields in north (Ramalan area). In a way, controlling Hasakah will provide any group with an important advantage over the others.

Given YPG’s superior military capabilities, discipline and its large popular support base it makes it very difficult for ISIS to defeat YPG in Kobane, Hasakah or elsewhere. Even with advanced Western weaponry ISIS obtained from Iraq seem to have not helped the group to seize Kobane thus far.

For the Attention of the UN Humanitarian Aid Representatives in Syria

We, the Commission of Humanitarian Relief and Support in the Democratic Autonomous Administration of the Kurdish Cantons (Jazira, Kobane and Efrin), welcome UN Security Council Resolution 2139 to boost humanitarian aid access in Syria.


We hereby commit to facilitate the implementation of the Resolution 2139 and the 2 October 2013 statement by the President of the Security Council (S/PRST/2013/15) including through facilitating the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, in accordance with applicable provisions of international humanitarian law and the UN guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance.


The autonomous region of Rojava (Western Kurdistan/North of Syria) is controlled and administered by multi-ethnic regional communities in a transparent, democratic and nonpartisan fashion. The region has been deprived of international humanitarian aid due to the siege imposed by the regime and armed extremists groups. Local communities organized themselves and established their institutions and councils in order to administer their own socio-economic and political affairs and to protect their territory from the repercussions of the ongoing brutal sectarian civil war.

The Rojava region has been relatively safe and has successfully managed to become a safe haven for internally displaced Syrians. The Autonomous Administration has established the Commission of Humanitarian Relief and Support in co-operation with the Kurdish Red Crescent (Heyva Sor a Kurd), a regional humanitarian NGO serving local communities with limited resources.

The Autonomous Administration in the three Kurdish Cantons will take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of United Nations personnel, those of its specialized agencies, and all other personnel engaged in humanitarian relief activities, without prejudice to their freedom of movement and access and to assure the delivery of relief to all persons in need.  The Administration is also very keen and willing to co-operate with the UN aid representatives and personnel by ensuring the accessibility of border crossings.

We would like to suggest that the Commission of Humanitarian Relief and Support of the Autonomous Administration nominate Mrs. Senam Mohamed as focal point for coordination with the United Nations to facilitate the fair distribution of aid under the direct supervision of the UN representatives and monitored by UN officials.

Mrs. Mohamed is the Co-chair of People’s Council of Western Kurdistan and her contact details are:

Phone: +32 489 91 79 05

Finally, we welcome the UN resolution and are willing to co-operate with you in order to deliver humanitarian supports to local communities.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

On behalf of the Democratic Autonomous Administration in Rojava

Alan Semo


Phone: +447809687097

The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons

The Social Contract of the Rojava Cantons in Syria


We, the people of the Democratic Autonomous Regions of Afrin, Jazira and Kobane, a confederation of Kurds, Arabs, Syrics, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians and Chechens, freely and solemnly declare and establish this Charter.

In pursuit of freedom, justice, dignity and democracy and led by principles of equality and environmental sustainability, the Charter proclaims a new social contract, based upon mutual and peaceful coexistence and understanding between all strands of society. It protects fundamental human rights and liberties and reaffirms the peoples’ right to self-determination.

Under the Charter, we, the people of the Autonomous Regions, unite in the spirit of reconciliation, pluralism and democratic participation so that all may express themselves freely in public life. In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognizes Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace.

In establishing this Charter, we declare a political system and civil administration founded upon a social contract that reconciles the rich mosaic of Syria through a transitional phase from dictatorship, civil war and destruction, to a new democratic society where civic life and social justice are preserved.

I General principles

Article 1

The Charter of the Autonomous Regions of Afrin, Jazira, and Kobane, [hereinafter “the Charter”], is a renewed social contract between the peoples of the Autonomous Regions. The Preamble is an integral part of the Charter.

Article 2

a- Authority resides with and emanates from the people of the Autonomous Regions. It is exercised by governing councils and public institutions elected by popular vote.

b- The people constitute the sole source of legitimacy all governing councils and public institutions, which are founded on democratic principles essential to a free society.

Article 3

a – Syria is a free, sovereign and democratic state, governed by a parliamentary system based on principles of decentralization and pluralism.

b – The Autonomous Regions is composed of the three cantons of Afrin, Jazira and Kobane, forming an integral part of the Syrian territory. The administrative centers of each Canton are: Afrin city, Canton of Afrin; Qamishli city, Canton of Jazira; Kobane city, Canton of Kobane.

c – The Canton of Jazira is ethnically and religiously diverse, with Kurdish, Arab, Syriac, Chechen, Armenian, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi communities peacefully co-existing in brotherhood. The elected Legislative Assembly represents all three Cantons of the Autonomous Regions.

The Structure of governance in the Autonomous Regions

Article 4

1- Legislative Assembly

2 – Executive Councils

3 – High Commission of Elections

4 – Supreme Constitutional Courts

5 – Municipal/Provincial Councils

Article 5

The administrative centers of each Canton are:

Qamishli city, Canton of Jazira;

Afrin city, Canton of Afrin;

Kobane City, Canton of Kobane.


Article 6

All persons and communities are equal in the eyes of the law and in rights and responsibilities.

Article 7

All cities, towns and villages in Syria which accede to this Charter may form Cantons falling within Autonomous Regions.

Article 8

All Cantons in the Autonomous Regions are founded upon the principle of local self-government. Cantons may freely elect their representatives and representative bodies, and may pursue their rights insofar as it does not contravene the articles of the Charter.

Article 9

The official languages of the Canton of Jazira are Kurdish, Arabic and Syriac. All communities have the right to teach and be taught in their native language.

Article 10

The Autonomous Regions shall not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, and it shall safeguard its relations with neighboring states, resolving any conflicts peacefully.

Article 11

The Autonomous Regions have the right to be represented by their own flag, emblems and anthem. Such symbols shall be defined in a law.

Article 12

The Autonomous Regions form an integral part of Syria. It is a model for a future decentralized system of federal governance in Syria.


II Basic Principles

Article 13

There shall be a separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary.

Article 14

The Autonomous Regions shall seek to implement a framework of transitional justice measures. It shall take steps to redress the legacy of chauvinistic and discriminatory State policies, including the payment of reparations to victims, both individuals and communities, in the Autonomous Regions.

Article 15

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) is the sole military force of the three Cantons, with the mandate to protect and defend the security of the Autonomous Regions and its peoples, against both internal and external threats. The People’s Protection Units act in accordance with the recognized inherent right to self-defense. Power of command in respect of the People’s Protection Units is vested in the Body of Defense through its Central Command. Its relation to the armed forces of the central Government shall be defined by the Legislative Assembly in a special law.

The Asayish forces are charged with civil policing functions in the Autonomous Regions.


Article 16

If a court or any other public body considers that a provision conflicts with a provision of a fundamental law or with a provision of any other superior statute, or that the procedure prescribed was set aside in any important respect when the provision was introduced, the provision shall be nullified.

Article 17

The Charter guarantees the rights of the youth to participate actively in public and political life.

Article 18

Unlawful acts and omissions and the appropriate penalties are defined by criminal and civil law.

Article 19

The system of taxation and other fiscal regulations are defined by law.

Article 20

The Charter holds as inviolable the fundamental rights and freedoms set out in international human rights treaties, conventions and declarations.


III Rights and Liberties

Article 21

The Charter incorporates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as other internationally recognized human rights conventions.

Article 22

All international rights and responsibilities pertaining civil, political, cultural, social and economical rights are guaranteed.

Article 23

a – Everyone has the right to express their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and gender rights

b – Everyone has the right to live in a healthy environment, based on ecology balance.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; including freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Freedom of expression and freedom of information may be restricted having regard to the security of the Autonomous Regions, public safety and order, the integrity of the individual, the sanctity of private life, or the prevention and prosecution of crime.

Article 25

a- Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

b- All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

c- Prisoners have the right to humane conditions of detention, which protect their inherent dignity. Prisons shall serve the underlying objective of the reformation, education and social rehabilitation of prisoners.

Article 26

Every human being has the inherent right to life. No one within the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Regions shall be executed.

Article 27

Women have the inviolable right to participate in political, social, economic and cultural life.

Article 28

Men and women are equal in the eyes of the law. The Charter guarantees the effective realization of equality of women and mandates public institutions to work towards the elimination of gender discrimination.

Article 29

The Charter guarantees the rights of the child. In particular children shall not suffer economic exploitation, child labor, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and shall not be married before attaining the age of majority.

Article 30

All persons have the right

1. to personal security in a peaceful and stable society.

2. to free and compulsory primary and secondary education.

3. to work, social security, health, adequate housing.

4. to protect the motherhood and maternal and pediatric care.

5. to adequate health and social care for the disabled, the elderly and those with special needs.

Article 31

Everyone has the right to freedom of worship, to practice one’s own religion either individually or in association with others. No one shall be subjected to persecution on the grounds of their religious beliefs.

Article 32

a)- Everyone has the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to establish and freely join any political party, association, trade union and/or civil assembly.

b) – In exercising the right to freedom of association, political, economic and cultural expression of all communities is protected. This serves to protect the rich and diverse heritage of the peoples of the Autonomous Regions.

c) – The Yazidi religion is a recognized religion and its adherents’ rights to freedom of association and expression is explicitly protected. The protection of Yazidi religious, social and cultural life may be guaranteed through the passage of laws by the Legislative Assembly.

Article 33

Everyone has the freedom to obtain, receive and circulate information and to communicate ideas, opinions and emotions, whether orally, in writing, in pictorial representations, or in any other way.

Article 34

Everyone has the right of peaceful assembly, including the right to peaceful protect, demonstration and strike.

Article 35

Everyone has the right to freely experience and contribute to academic, scientific, artistic and cultural expressions and creations, through individual or joint practice, to have access to and enjoy, and to disseminate their expressions and creations.

Article 36

Everyone has the right to vote and to run for public office, as circumscribed by law.

Article 37

Everyone has the right to seek political asylum. Persons may only be deported following a decision of a competent, impartial and properly constituted judicial body, where all due process rights have been afforded.

Article 38

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal opportunities in public and professional life.

Article 39

Natural resources, located both above and below ground, are the public wealth of society. Extractive processes, management, licensing and other contractual agreements related to such resources shall be regulated by law.

Article 40

All buildings and land in the Autonomous Regions are owned by the Transitional Administration are public property. The use and distribution shall be determined by law.

Article 41

Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his private property. No one shall be deprived of his property except upon payment of just compensation, for reasons of public utility or social interest, and in the cases and according to the forms established by law.

Article 42

The economic system in the provinces shall be directed at providing general welfare and in particular granting funding to science and technology. It shall be aimed at guaranteeing the daily needs of people and to ensure a dignified life. Monopoly is prohibited by law. Labor rights and sustainable development are guaranteed.

Article 43

Everyone has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence within the Autonomous Regions.

Article 44

The enumeration of the rights and freedoms set forth in Section III is non-exhaustive.


The Democratic Self-rule Administration Project

IV Legislative Assembly

Article 45

The Legislative Assembly in the Autonomous Region is elected by the people by direct, secret ballot, and the duration of the course is four (4) years.

Article 46

The first meeting of the Legislative Assembly shall be held no later than the 16th day following the announcement of the final results of elections in all Autonomous Regions. Such results will be certified and announced by the Higher Commission of Elections.

The President of the Transitional Executive Council will convene the first meeting of the Legislative Assembly. If compelling reasons dictate that its first meeting cannot be so held, the President of the Transitional Executive Council will determine another date to be held within fifteen days.

Quorum is met by fifty + one (50+1%) percent attendants of the total. The oldest member of the Legislative Assembly will chair its first meeting at which the Co-Presidents and Executive Council will be elected.

The sessions of the Legislative Assembly are public unless necessity demands otherwise. The movement of the Legislative Assembly into closed session is governed by its rules of procedure.

Article 47

There shall be one member of the Supreme Legislature Council per fifteen thousand (15,000) registered voters residing within the Autonomous Region. The Legislative Assembly must be composed of at least forty per cent (40%) of either sex according to the electoral laws. The representation of the Syriac community, as well as youth representation in the election lists, is governed by electoral laws.

Article 48

1- No member of the Legislative Assembly may run for more than two consecutive terms.

2 – The term of the Legislative Assembly may be extended in exceptional cases at the request of one quarter (¼) of its members or at the request of the Office of the President of the Council, with the consent of two-thirds (⅔) of the members of the Council. Such extension shall be for no longer than six (6) months.

Article 49

Every person who has reached the age of eighteen (18) years is eligible to vote. Candidates for the Legislative Assembly must have attained the age of twenty-two (22) years. Conditions for candidacy and election are stipulated by electoral law.

Article 50

Members of the Legislative Assembly enjoy immunity in respect of acts and omissions carried out in the function of official duties. Any prosecutions require the authorization of the Legislative Assembly, with the exception of flagrante crime. At the earliest opportunity, the Office of the President of the Council shall be informed of all pending prosecutions.

Article 51

No member, during his term of office, is permitted any public, private, or other profession. Such employment is suspended once he makes the constitutional oath. He has the right to return to his job, with all its rights and benefits, once his membership ends.

Article 52

Local Councils in each province of the Autonomous Regional shall be formed through direct elections.

Article 53

The functions of the Legislative Assembly are to:

– Establish rules and procedures governing the work of the Legislative Assembly.

– Enact legislation and proposed regulations for the Local Councils and other institutions, including permanent and ad hoc committees, under its purview.

– Exercise control over administrative and executive bodies, including use of powers of review.

– Ratification of international treaties and agreements.

– Delegate its powers to the Executive Council or to one of its members and thereafter to withdraw such powers.

– Declare a State of war and peace.

– Ratify the appointment of members of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

– Adopt the general budget.

– Establish general policy and development plans.

– Approve and grant amnesty.

– Adopt decrees promulgated by the Executive Council; and

– Adopt laws for the common governance of the Provincial Councils of the Autonomous Regions.


Part V Executive Council

Article 54

Canton Premier

A- The Canton Premier, together with the Executive Council of the Autonomous Regions, hold executive authority as set forth in this Charter.

B- The candidate to the post of Canton Premier must.


1- Be over thirty-five years of age;

2- Be a Syrian citizen and a resident of the canton; and

3- Have no convictions or cautions.


C- The procedure governing the candidacy and election of Canton Premier:

1- Within 30 days of the first session of the Legislative Assembly, its President must call for the election of the Canton Premiers.

2- Requests to nominate candidates for the position of Canton Premier must be made, in writing, to the Supreme Court which shall examine and accept or reject not later than ten (10) days after the close of nominations.

3- The Legislative Assembly shall elect the Canton Premier by a simple majority.

4- If no candidate receives the required simple majority, a second electoral round is initiated, with the candidate receiving the highest number of votes, being elected.

5- The term of Canton Premier is four (4) years from the date of the taking of the Oath of Office;

6- The Canton Premier makes the Oath of Office before the Legislative Assembly before commencing official duties.

7- The Canton Premier appointed one or more Deputies, approved by the Legislative Assembly. The Deputies take an Oath of Office before the Canton Premier, after which specified functions may be delegated to them.

8- Should the Canton Premier be unable to fulfill his official functions, one of his Deputies shall replace him. Where the Canton Premier and the Deputies are unable to fulfill their duties for any reason, the tasks of the Canton Premier will be carried out by the President of the Legislative Assembly; and

9- The Governor must address any letter of resignation to the Legislative Assembly.


D- The powers and functions of the Canton Premier:

1- The Canton Premier shall ensure respect for the Charter and the protection of the national unity and sovereignty, and at all times performing his functions to the best of ability and conscience.

2- The Canton Premier shall appoint the President of the Executive Council.

3- The Canton Premier shall implement laws passed by the Legislative Assembly, and issue decisions, orders and decrees in accordance with those laws.

4- The Canton Premier must invite the newly elected Legislative Assembly to convene within fifteen (15) days from the announcement of the election results;

5- The Canton Premier may grant medals.

6- The Canton Premier may issue amnesties as recommended by the President of the Executive Council.

E- The Canton Premier is responsible to the people through his representatives in the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly has the right to bring him before the Supreme Constitutional Court for charges of treason and other forms of sedition.

The Executive Council:

The Executive Council is the highest executive and administrative body in the Autonomous Regions. It is responsible for the implementation of laws, resolutions and decrees as issued by the Legislative Assembly and judicial institutions. It shall coordinate the institutions of the Autonomous Regions.

Article 55

The Executive Council is composed of a Chairman, representatives and committees.

Article 56

The party or bloc winning a majority of seats in the Legislative Assembly shall form the Executive Council within one month from the date of assignment, with the approval of the simple majority (51%) of the members of the Legislative Assembly.

Article 57

The Head of the Executive Council shall not serve more than two consecutive terms, each term being four (4) years in length. Article 58 The Head of the Executive Council may choose advisers amongst the newly elected members of the Legislative Council.

Article 59

Each adviser shall be responsible for one of the bodies within the Executive Council.

Article 60

The work of the Executive Council, including the Departments, and their relation to other institutions/committees is regulated by law.

Article 61

After the formation and approval of the Executive Council, it shall issue its prospective Program for Government. Following its passage through the Legislative Assembly, the Executive Council is obliged to implement the Program of Government during that legislative term.

Article 62

Senior civil servants and Department representatives shall be nominated by the Executive Council and approved by the Legislative Council.

Provincial Administrative Councils [Municipal Councils]:

1- The Cantons of the Autonomous Regions are composed of Provincial Administrative Councils [Municipal Councils] and are managed by the relevant Executive Council which retains the power to amend its functions and regulations;

2- The powers and duties of the Provincial Administrative Councils [Municipal Councils] are founded upon an adherence to a policy of decentralization. The Canton’s supervision of the Provincial Administrative Councils’ [Municipal Councils’] authority, including its budget and finance, public services and mayoral elections are regulated by law.

3- Provincial Administrative Councils [Municipal Councils] are directly elected by the public, using secret ballot.


Part VI The Judicial Council:

Article 63

The independence of the Judiciary is founding principle of the rule of law, which ensures a just and effective disposition of cases by the competent and impartial courts.

Article 64

Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty by a competent and impartial court.

Article 65

All institutions of the Judicial Council must be composed of at least forty per cent (40%) of either sex.

Article 66

The right to defense is sacred and inviolable at all stages of an investigation and trial.

Article 67

The removal of a Judge from office requires a decision from the Judicial Council.

Article 68

Judgments and judicial decisions are issued on behalf of the people.

Article 69

Failure to implement judicial decisions and orders is a violation of law.

Article 70

No civilian shall stand trial before any military court or special or ad hoc tribunals.

Article 71

Searches of houses and other private property must be done in accordance with a properly executed warrant, issued by a judicial authority.

Article 72

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 73

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

Article 74

Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention or otherwise suffered damage or harm as a result of the acts and omissions of public authorities has an enforceable right to compensation.

Article 75

The Judicial Council is established by law.


VII The Higher Commission of Elections

Article 76

The Higher Commission of Elections is an independent body competent to oversee and run the electoral process. It is composed of 18 members, representing all cantons, who are appointed by the Legislative Assembly.

1. Decisions in the Commission require a qualified majority of eleven (11) votes.

2. Member of the Higher Commission of Elections may not stand for office in the Legislative Assembly.

3. The Higher Commission of Elections determines the date on which elections are held, the announcement of the results, and receive the nominations of eligible candidates for the Legislative Assembly.

4. As stated in paragraph 51, the Higher Commission of Elections verifies the eligibility of candidates seeking election to the Legislative Assembly. The Higher Commission of Elections is the sole body competent to receive allegations of electoral fraud, voter intimidation or illegal interference with the process of an election.

5. The Higher Commission of Elections is monitored by the Supreme Court and may be monitored by observers from the United Nations and civil society organizations.

6. The Higher Commission of Elections, together with the Judicial Council, shall convene a meeting of all candidates seeking election to the Legislative Assembly to announce the names of eligible candidates.


VIII The Supreme Constitutional Court

Article 77

a)- The Supreme Constitutional Court is composed of seven (7) members, all of whom are nominated by the Legislative Assembly. Its members are drawn from Judges, legal experts and lawyers, all of whom must have no less than fifteen (15) years of professional experience.

b)- No member of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall not be eligible to serve on the Executive Council or in the Legislative Assembly or to hold any other office or position of emolument, as defined by law.

c)- A member’s term of office runs for four (4) years. No member may serve more than two terms.


The functions of the Supreme Constitutional Court

Article 78

1. To interpret the articles and underlying principles of the Charter.

2. To determine the constitutionality of laws enacted by the Legislative Assembly and decisions taken by Executive Council.

3. To judicially review legislative acts and executive decisions, where such acts and decisions may be in the conflict with the letter and spirit of the Charter and the Constitution.

4. Canton Premiers, members of the Legislative Assembly and Executive Council may be brought before the Supreme Constitutional Court, when alleged to have acted in breach of the Charter.

5. Its decisions are reached through simple majority vote.

Article 79

A member of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehavior or incapacity. The provisions and procedures governing the work of the Supreme Constitutional Court shall be set out in a special law.

Article 80

Procedure for determination of the constitutionality of laws as follow:

1- The decision for the non-constitutional of any law will be as follow:

a)- Where, prior to a law’s enactment, more than twenty per cent (20%) of the Legislative Assembly objects to its constitutionality, the Supreme Constitutional Court is seized of the matter and shall render its decision within fifteen (15) days; if the law is to be urgently enacted, a decision shall be rendered within seven (7) days.

b)-Where, following the rendering of the Judgment of the Supreme Constitutional Court, more than twenty per cent (20%) of the Legislative Assembly still objects to its constitutionality, an appeal may be lodged.

c)- If, on appeal, the Supreme Constitutional Court rules the law to be enacted as unconstitutional, the law shall be considered null and void.


2. If an argument is raised in a court concerning the constitutionality of a law as follow:

a)- If parties to a case raise a challenge to the constitutionality of a law and the court so holds, the matter is stayed while it is referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court


b)- The Supreme Constitutional Court must deliver its judgment within thirty (30) days.


IX General Rules

Article 81

The Charter applies within the Autonomous Regions. It may only be amended by a qualified majority of two-thirds (⅔) of the Legislative Assembly.

Article 82

The Charter shall be laid before the Transitional Legislative Assembly for review and ratification.

Article 83

Syrian citizens holding dual nationality are barred from assuming leading positions in the Office of the Canton Premier, the Provincial Council, and the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Article 84

The Charter sets out the legislative framework through which laws, decrees, and states of emergency shall be formally implemented.

Article 85

Elections to form the Legislative Assembly shall be held within four (4) months of the ratification of the Charter by the Transitional Legislative Assembly. The Transitional Legislative Assembly retains the right to extend the time period if exceptional circumstances arise.

Article 86

The Oath of Office to be taken by members of the Legislative Assembly

“I solemnly swear, in the name of Almighty God, to abide by the Charter and laws of the Autonomous Regions, to defend the liberty and interests of the people, to ensure the security of the Autonomous Regions, to protect the rights of legitimate self-defense and to strive for social justice, in accordance with the principles of democratic rules enshrined herein.”

Article 87

All governing bodies, institutions and committees shall be made up of at least forty percent (40%) of either sex.

Article 88

Syrian criminal and civil legislation is applicable in the Autonomous Regions except where it contradicts provisions of this Charter.

Article 89

In the case of conflict between laws passed by the Legislative Assembly and legislation of the central government, the Supreme Constitutional Court will rule upon the applicable law, based on the best interest of the Autonomous Regions.

Article 90

The Charter guarantees the protection of the environment and regards the sustainable development of natural ecosystems as a moral and a sacred national duty.

Article 91

The education system of the Autonomous Regions shall be based upon the values of reconciliation, dignity, and pluralism. It is a marked departure from prior education policies founded upon racist and chauvinistic principles.

Education within the Autonomous Regions rejects prior education policies based on racist and chauvinistic principles. Founded upon the values of reconciliation, dignity, and pluralism,

a)- The new educational curriculum of the cantons shall recognize the rich history, culture and heritage of the peoples of the Autonomous Regions.

b)-The education system, public service channels and academic institutions shall promote human rights and democracy.

Article 92

a)- The Charter enshrines the principle of separation of religion and State.

b)- Freedom of religion shall be protected. All religions and faiths in the Autonomous Regions shall be respected. The right to exercise religious beliefs shall be guaranteed, insofar as it does not adversely affect the public good.

Article 93

a)- The promotion of cultural, social and economic advancement by administrative institutions ensures enhanced stability and public welfare within the Autonomous Regions.

b)- There is no legitimacy for authority which contradicts this charter. Article 94 Martial law may be invoked and revoked by a qualified majority of two-thirds (⅔) of the Executive Council, in a special session chaired by the Canton Premier. The decision must then be presented to and unanimously adopted by the Legislative Assembly, with its provisions contained in a special law.


The Executive Council Bodies

Article 95

1. Body of Foreign Relations

2. Body of Defense

3. Body of Internal Affairs

4. Body of Justice

5. Body of Cantonal and Municipal Councils and affiliated to it Committee of Planning and Census

6. Body of Finance, and affiliated to it a)-Committee on Banking Regulations. b)- Committee of Customs and Excise.

7. Body of Social Affairs

8. Body of Education

9. Body of Agriculture

10. Body of Energy.

11. Body of Health

12. Body of Trade and Economic Cooperation

13. Body of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs

14. Body of Culture

15. Body of Transport

16. Body of Youth and Sports

17. Body of Environment, Tourism and Historical Objects

18. Body of Religious Affairs

19. Body of Family and Gender Equality

20. Body of Human Rights.

21. Body of Communications

22. Body of Food


Security Article 96

The Charter shall be published in the media and press.

HRW’ye Göre Rojava’nın Başarıları ve Açmazları

ImageSuriye’de Kürtlerin özerk yönetim ilan ettiği Rojava’yı ilk kez ziyaret eden İnsan Hakları İzleme Örgütü (HRW), bölgeyi ‘ülkenin en güvenli ve istikrarlı yeri’ diye tanımlarken Demokratik Birlik Partisi (PYD) ve Demokratik Toplum Hareketi (TEV-DEM) liderliğindeki Kürtlerin silahlı bir güçten iktidara geçmenin zorluklarını yaşadığını not etti.

HRW yetkilisi Fred Abrahams, geziyle ilgili Radikal’in sorularını yanıtladı.

Ziyaretinizin amacı neydi?

Rojava ya yaptığımız gezinin amacı bölgedeki durumu anlayabilmek ve orayı yeterince tanıyabilmekti. Her ne kadar daha önce Esad rejiminin egemenliği altında yasayan Kürtler hakkında araştırmamız olduysa da, özellikle 2004 ve 2005’teki kırılmalar, kovuşturmalar ve yapılan ayırımcılıklar hakkındaki raporların dışında daha önce hiç bölgede bulunmamıştık. Bu bölgeye yaptığımız ilk geziydi ve bölgedeki yaşananların, çatışmaların hızına yetişmemiz için gerekliydi. Bu yüzden biz bu geziyi bütün gelişmeleri sahada görebilmek ve sizin de haberdar olduğunuz gibi Rojava’da yerel yönetimleri oluşturan aktörlerle temas kurabileceğimiz bir fırsat olarak gördük. Rojava’da, bildiğiniz gibi, de facto bir yönetim oluşturmayı basarmış olan bir yapı var. Bu yönetim, askeri anlamda Kürt Halk Savunma Güçleri yani YPG ile siyasal anlamda ise Demokratik Birlik Partisi, PYD.

Böyle bir gerçeklik karşısında biz kendilerine şu mesajı vermek istedik; siz bir yönetim oluşturduğunuz vakit, bu de facto bir yönetim bile olsa, beraberinde legal sorumlulukları da getirir. Örneğin, uymakla yükümlü olduğunuz uluslararası insan hakları normları var. Bizler var olan şartları incelemek, oradaki yönetimin bu konularda ne durumda olduğunu görmek ve kendilerine bu uluslararası normlara uymanın gerekliliğini anlatmak için oraya gittik. Ayrıca, yetkilileri bu konularda nasıl geliştirebileceğimizi de konuştuk.

Peki, siz Rojava’daki yönetimin faaliyetlerini nasıl buldunuz?
Bu konuyla ilgili çok detaylı bir rapor hazırlamakta olduğumuzu belirteyim öncelikle. Genel olarak söylemeliyim ki hem olumlu hem olumsuz izlenimlerimiz var. Fakat bütün bunlardan önce en sevindirici olan şey Suriye’nin geri kalan kesimlerine göre bu bölgenin daha güvenli oluşu. Burada güvenliğin çok iyi olduğu anlamı çıkmasın ancak diğer kesimlere göre burası daha güvenli ve istikrarlı. Tabii ki sınırda bomba yüklü araçlarla yapılan saldırılar, şiddet olayları ve çatışmalar halen devam ediyor ancak korkunç bir durumun hükmettiği diğer parçalarla karşılaştırıldığında buranın güvenli ve istikrarlı olduğu açık.

İnsan hakları ile ilgili durumu ele aldığımızda bu alanda bazı sıkıntıların olduğunu gördük ve bunları direkt olarak oradaki yetkililerle konuştuk. Bu sorunlar arasında siyasal çoğulculuk, ifade özgürlüğüne saygı ve siyasi faaliyet özgürlüğü konuları bulunuyor. Bence PYD ve Demokratik Toplum Hareketi’nin (TEV-DEM) en çok zorlanacakları nokta, bir muhalefet partisinden, bir silahlı direniş grubundan, bütün vatandaşları ve bölgede yaşayan bütün kesimleri temsil edecekleri bir hükümete dönüşmeleri sureci olacaktır. Bu şu anlama geliyor; bütün görüşlere saygı, siyasal faaliyetlere izin verme ve farklı düşünen medya kuruluşlarına izin verme gerekliliği. Yani kurumların özgürlüğü.

Bu noktalarda sıkıntıların olduğunu görüyoruz. Farklı siyasal faaliyetlere karşı bir tahammülsüzlük olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Ama bazı gelişmelerin olduğunu da belirtmek lazım. Biz, öte yandan sadece Cizire bölgesinde de bulunabildik çünkü güvenlikle ilgili sebeplerden ötürü Kobane ve Afrin’e gidemedik. Cizire’de siyasi tutukluluk ile ilgili herhangi bir şikâyet veya rapor yoktu. Bu çok iyi bir şey ve bu bence bu bir ilerleme göstergesidir. Son Erbil Anlaşması’ndan sonra salıvermeler yaşanmış. Ancak Afrin’de bazı tutuklulukların olabileceğine dair duyumlarımız oldu. Öte yandan bazı şeyleri birbirinden ayırmak oldukça zor. Şöyle ki; bir kişinin Suriye Kürdistan Demokratik Partisi (PDKS) ya da Suriye Kürdistan Birlik Partisi (Yekiti) üyesi olması onun siyasi tutuklu olacağı anlamına gelmiyor.

Bölgedeki bazı siyasetçiler ve yetkililerle yaptığımız görüşmelerde “Adli sebeplerden dolayı tutuklanan insanlar hemen olaya siyasi bir boyut kazandırmaya çalışıyorlar” şeklinde iddiaları gündeme getiriliyor. Siz böylesi durumlarla karşılaştınız mı?
Evet haklısınız. Bakın, politik nedenlerden ötürü saldırıya maruz kaldığınızı söyleyip, kamuoyu yaratmak, bunu da siyasi amaçlar için kullanmak çok kolay. Bu yüzden bizler bu tur olayları dikkatlice araştırmalıyız. Yani bir muhalif partiye üye olmanız size yasaları çiğneme hakkı vermez. Burada mesele sizin bir muhalif parti üyesi olmanız değil, yasaların doğru bir şekilde uygulanıp, uygulanmadığı meselesidir.

Örneğin daha iyi anlaşılması için şu örneği vereyim; şimdilerde oradaki yerel makamlar yasaları değiştirmeye çalışıyorlar. “Sosyal Sözleşme” dedikleri ve esasında Suriye yasaları ile diğer bazı ülkelerin yasalarının bir karışımı olan bu anayasa belgesi, gerek yasa uzmanları arasında gerekse avukatlar, hâkimler ve hatta bu yasaların verdiği cezalar sonucunda tutuklananlar arasında ciddi bir kafa karışıklığına yol açmış. Bu büyük bir sorun çünkü eğer yasalar yeterince açık değilse ve net bir biçimde tanımlanmamışsa bu beraberinde kötüye kullanmayı ve keyfiliği getirir. Bence bu büyük bir sorun.

Bizim onlara önerimiz şu oldu; bakın dedik, Suriye yasalarında birçok sorun olduğunu biliyoruz. Uluslararası insan haklarını ihlal eden birçok tarafının olduğunda hemfikiriz. Özellikle Kürtlere karşı ayırımcı bir yapısının olduğunun çok açık olduğunun farkındayız. Ancak siz bu tarz insan haklarına aykırı olan kısımları almak zorunda değilsiniz. Bu kısımları ayıklayabilirsiniz. Çünkü Suriye yasalarının çoğunluğu fena değil. Özellikle normal suçlarla ilgili yasaların hemen hemen %90-95’i iyidir- hırsızlık, hatta cinayet gibi suçları da buna dahil edebiliriz. Bunlar zaten standart yasalar ki yanılmıyorsam Suriye yasaları, Fransız Ceza Yasaları’ndan alınma. Simdi yasal reformlar yapma zamanı değil. Ülke’de savaş hüküm sürüyor, siyasi ortam istikrarsızken, mahkemeler değişiyor, bir de bütün bunların üstüne bir de yeni hukuk sorununu çıkartmak istiyorsunuz. Yasaları ileride değiştirebilirsiniz. Bizce şu an bunun için çok erken.

Peki. Yetkililerin bu söylediklerinize karşı tutumları nasıldı. Önerilerinize açıklar mıydı?
Tepkileri karışıktı, yani hem olumluydu, hem de olumsuz. Bir şekilde önerilerimiz anlaşılır bulundu, ama öte yandan bu projeye katı bir şekilde karşı çıkanlar da oldu. Bu bir ideolojik karşı çıkıştı. Sanırım bu hareketin geleneksel yapısından kaynaklanıyor. Bu daha önce bahsettiğim siyasal bir hareketten, yönetimi elinde tutan bir otoriteye geçiş arasındaki farklılıktan kaynaklanıyor. Yani her ikisinin yapısı farklı. Sanırım insanlar buna hak verecek.

Şunu da belirteyim ki, iki cezaevini ziyaret ettik. Oraların kapılarını bizlere açtıklarından ötürü ve desteklerinden ötürü övgüyü hak ettiklerini düşünüyorum. Genel olarak cezaevlerinin durumu iyiydi. Ama nihayetinde Suriye’deki bir hapishaneden bahsediyoruz. İncelemelerimiz sırasında ciddi bir soruna rastlamadık. Tutuklular iyi muamele gördüklerini söylediler. Kendilerine yeterince yemek verildiğini ve herhangi bir şiddete maruz kalmadıklarını belirttiler. Fakat daha önce tutuklanıp, bırakılan insanlarla görüşmelerimiz sırasında insanların tutuklanırken şiddete maruz kaldıklarını öğrendik. Tabii ki bu yöntem, yani şiddet yöntemiyle suçu itiraf ettirme Suriye’de yaygın bir yöntem ve o bölgeye özgü bir şey değil. Tabii henüz profesyonel bir polis teşkilatının olmamasının bunda etkili olduğunun farkındayım ve onlardan olay yeri inceleme ve forenzik laboratuvarları vb. sahip olmalarını da beklemiyorum.

Ama sonuçta bu yaptıkları illegal. Sorgu sırasında dayak atma “Sosyal Sözleşme”ye, Suriye yasalarına ve de uluslararası standartlara aykırı. Ancak bu tür şeyler oluyor ve biz bu sorunu onlarla konuştuk. Yetkililere direk olarak bu sorunu aktardık ve kendileri de inkâr etmediler zaten. Şu an bir geçiş döneminde olduklarını ve bu tür sorunları aşıp, ortadan kaldıracaklarını söylediler. Tamam, kendilerine hak veriyorum ama bu bir mazeret değil ve biz bu konuda baskı yapıp, düzelmeleri için onları zorlayacağız.

Üzerinde durduğumuz bir diğer mesele de çocuk asker kullanımıydı. Her şeyden önce hem YPG hem de Asayiş (polis) yönetmeliklerinde 18 yaşından küçük çocukların askere alınmaları yasaklıyor.

Bir kaç ay önce Cenevre Konvansiyonu’na imza atmamışlar mıydı?
Hayır. Ancak birkaç şey var. Birincisi, PKK bir yıl önce “Cenevre Çağrısı’”adi verilen kurumla beraber çocuk savaşçı bulundurmayacaklarına dahil açık bir beyanda bulunmuş ve sözleşmeye imza atmıştı. YPG simdi ayni şeyi yapmak için “Cenevre Çağrısı’” ile görüşme halinde. Buna ilaveten, YPG 2013 Aralık ayında bütün üyelerine bir talimat göndererek 18 yaş altı savaşçı alımını yasakladığını bildirdi. Bunların hepsi elbette ki çok olumlu ve memnuniyet verici şeyler. Ancak sorunun halen sürdüğünü de belgelendirdik. Durumun daha iyiye gittiğine inanıyorum ve çocuk savaşçı bulundurmayı sonlandırdıklarını düşünüyorum. Örneğin artık kontrol noktalarında çocuk savaşçılar görmüyorsunuz. Daha önceleri bu kontrol noktalarında 12 yaşında çocuklara bile rastlamak mümkündü. O talimattan sonra bu tür durumların kalmadığını düşünüyoruz ama yine de 16, 17 yaşında çocukların kullanıldığına dair belgeler de mevcut elimizde.

18 yaşından küçük savaşçı bulundurma ile ilgili nasıl bir açıklama getiriyorlar?
Bu çocukların gönüllü olarak katıldıklarını söylüyorlar. Bu çocuklar davalarına katkı sunmak istiyorlar ve eve gitmelerini söylesek de gitmiyorlar diyorlar. Aslında bu söyledikleri doğru. Çocukların birisinin annesi ile konuştuk. Annesi çocuğunu gidip geri getirdiğini, ancak çocuğun tekrar evden kaçıp tekrar katılmış. Çünkü çocuk 17 yaşında olduğunu söylüyormuş ve hareketin pir parçası olmak istiyormuş. Olabilir. Ancak o çocuğun gidip katıldığı grubun komutanı çocuğu kabul etmemeli. 18 altı kimseleri kabul etmemelerine dair emir aldıklarını söylemesi gerekir. Bu çocuklar siyasal çalışmalarda yer alabilirler, medya alanında çalışabilirler, insani projelerde katkı sunabilirler. Ancak 18 yaşının altında herhangi düşmanca bir aktivitenin içinde yer alamazlar. Bu halen bir şekilde problem olmaya devam ediyor. Onların bunu aşabileceğine inanıyoruz çünkü çok iyi organize olmuş bir hareketleri var ve bu sorunu isterlerse kolayca bitirebilirler. Bunu yapmaları gerektiğini düşünüyoruz.

Başka ne tür sorunlar dikkatinizi çekti?
Gözlemlediğimiz iki şey daha vardı. Birincisi terörist grupların, İslamcı grupların saldırıları. Abdülkerim Ömer adlı yerel bir memurun yara almadan kurtulduğu ancak orada bulunan başka birinin hayatını kaybettiği bombalı yüklü araçla bir saldırı vardı. Hayatını kaybeden şahsın ailesi ile tanıştık. Beş çocuk babasıydı ve yanlış zamanda yanlış yerde bulunmuştu. Çok açık ki bu İslamcı gruplar ve terörist gruplar ciddi insan hakları ihlallerinde bulunuyorlar.

İkinci husus ise sınır ihlalleriydi. Yarubiya Sınır Kapısı’nı gördüm. Görünüşe göre geçen hafta Irak ile sınırların açılması konusunda bir anlaşmaya varıldı ki bu çok iyi bir haber . Irak’taki güvenlik meselelerinden ötürü bunun ne kadar hayata geçeceğini tam olarak bilemiyoruz ama göreceğiz. Bu tabi ki olumlu bir durum, ancak insani yardımlar üzerinde nasıl bir etkisinin olacağını göreceğiz. Ve tabi ki, Türkiye ’nin sınırlarını kapalı tuttuğunu biliyoruz. İlginçtir, Türkiye’nin Dirbesiye (Şenyurt) Sınır Kapısı’nı ayda bir açtığını duyduk. Son olarak 5 Şubat’ta bunu yapmışlar ve sınırın öte yakasındaki Kürtler topladıkları yardımları her ay bu kapıdan Rojava’ya gönderiyorlar. Ancak siz de kabul edersiniz ki bu kesinlikle yetersiz.

İnsan Hakları İzleme Örgütü olarak Türkiye Hükümeti’ne sınırı daha sıklıkla açması konusunda bir talebiniz oldu mu?
Tabii ki oldu. Bu işin politik boyutunu anlıyoruz. Ancak sorun şu ki politik tutumlar insanların acı çekmelerine yol açıyor. Sınırlar bu tür insani yardımlar için açılmalı çünkü insanların bu yardımlara ihtiyacı var. İnsanlar açlıktan ölmeseler bile burada çok hayati yiyecek ve ilaç sıkıntısı yaşanıyor. Örneğin, bebek sütü, mama bu ihtiyaçlardan bazıları. Eğer kronik bir hastalığınız, şeker hastalığı mesela, varsa gerçekten başınız dertte demektir. Bu temel ilaçları bulmak çok güç ve Türkiye bunda pay sahibi olmakla suçlanıyor.

Ben geçen Ekim ayında Rojava’daydım ve anlattıklarınıza ben de tanık oldum. Demek ki, oradaki insanlar halen bu sorunları yaşıyorlar?
Evet. Kesinlikle. Ayrıca Fişhabur (Sêmelka) Sınır Kapısı’nda da çok tuhaf bir durum var. Açıkçası Kürdistan Bölgesel Yönetimi’nin (KBY) bu yardımların rahatça geçmesi için daha fazla şey yapabileceğini düşünüyorum. Aynı zamanda bütün bunların çok karmaşık ve kirli politikaların sonucu olduğunu biliyorum. İnsanların bu kadar ihtiyaç duydukları halde gerekli yardımları alamamaları gerçekten utanç verici. Ayrıca, iki yakayı birbirine bağlayan köprünün de zarar verilerek kullanılmaz hale getirildiğini öğrendik. Aslında KRG daha fazla şey yapabilir. Daha fazla yardımın geçişine izin verebilir. Bazı yardımların geçişine izin veriliyor, yani tamamen kapalı değil ancak yetersiz.

KBY’ye de benzeri şekilde daha fazla yardımcı olması noktasında bir çağrınız oldu mu?
Kesinlikle. Bunu zaten söyledik ve ben bazı röportajlarımda da dile getirdim. Bizce Türkiye ve KYB hükümetleri siyaseti bir kenara bırakıp, insanlara yardımcı olmalılar. Sınırları kapatmak var olan durumu daha da kötüleştiriyor.

Bunların dışında insan hakları ile ilgili olması hasebiyle tutukluların hakları ve tutuklama süreci üzerinde yoğunlaşıyoruz. Çok açık olarak gördük ki, tutuklanan kişiler yakalanmaları esnasında avukat edinme şansından mahrum bırakılmışlar. Her zaman hakim karşısına çıkarılmalar da olmamış.

Peki yeterli sayıda avukat var mı?
Bu sorunuzun cevabını bilemiyorum. Ancak şunu kesinlikle söyleyebilirim ki cezaevindeki birçok tutuklunun avukatı olmamış ve buna ödeyecek paraları olmayanlar dahil. Devlet yahut yetkililer bu davalara avukat sağlamalı ancak bu gerçekleşmiyor. Birçok kimse resmi olarak hüküm giymemiş. Onlar bir tür sosyal arabuluculuk sistemi kurmuşlar. Örneğin ben sizi bana ait bir şeyi çalmakla suçlayabilirim ve bu durumda yetkililer aramızda arabulucu olurlar. Bunun sonucunda bir anlaşmaya varabiliriz. Sen çaldığını bana geri verir ve üstüne biraz da para verirsin veya ben seni affedebilirim. Biz bu tür prensiplerin karşısında değiliz. Bu tarz geleneksel ve uzun yıllardır yapıla gelen sorun çözme yöntemlerini memnuniyetle karşılayabiliriz. Ancak bu tür geçici çözümler beraberinde bazı sorunlar da getiriyor. Aile içi şiddet konusunda ne yapabileceksiniz mesela? Bir kadının kocasını şikayet etmesi çok zor ve aile içi arabuluculuk daha da zor. Yani bu yöntem sorunların çözümü noktasında her zaman doğru bir yöntem değil. Bu aynı zamanda bana seni keyfi olarak suçlama sansı verir. Belki seni sevmediğim için haksız yere suçlayabilirim seni! Bu yüzden açık ve anlaşılır olmayan kanunlar karmaşaya ve karışıklığa yol açar ki bence durum biraz da bu.

Genel olarak kadınların durumu nasıldı? Nasıl bir gözleminiz oldu?
Fred Abrahams: Bu soruya verilebilecek en açık cevap tabi ki kadın savaşçılar olgusu ve TEV DEM’in vurgu yaptığı ve uygulamaya çalıştığı cinsel eşitlik projesi. Açıkçası bu çok hoşnut edici ve ferahlatıcı bir konsept ve bölgedeki diğer alanlarda veya devletlerde görülmeyen bir proje. Sanırım bu yansıtıldığı kadar derin bir proje değil. Bir başka deyişle; evet bir kadın ve bir erkekten oluşan eşbaşkanlık sistemi hakim ve kurumlarda kadın kotası yüzde 40 olarak belirlenmiş. Ancak halen karar verici otorite erkek egemen. Ben bir gelişmenin ve ilerlemenin olduğunu inkâr etmiyorum sadece söyledikleri kadar bir kadın erkek eşitliğinin sağlandığını düşünmüyorum.

Genel anlamda kadın hakları meselesine gelince; korkarım bu konuyu irdeleyecek kadar zamanımız olmadı orda. Yani aile içi şiddet, ya da cinsel şiddet gibi konulara eğilecek kadar uzun kalamadık. Dediğim gibi ziyaretimiz beş günlük bir ziyaretti.

Rojava’daki diğer azınlıkların durumu nasıl peki?
Gerçekten güzel bir soru ve bu da bir sonraki gezimiz için belirlemiş olduğumuz bir konu başlığı. Kısaca belirtmek gerekirse, bizim oradaki diğer azınlıkları veya cemaatleri ziyaret etmeye veya durumlarını irdelemeye yeterli zamanımız olmadı. Ancak bunu kesinlikle yapmayı düşünüyoruz. Öte yandan oradaki oluşum diğer grupları ve partileri de yönetime dahil ederek çoğulculuk anlamında güçlü bir irade ortaya koyuyor ve bu açıkçası çok memnuniyet verici. Ancak, biz yine de PYD’nin hakim bir güç olduğu kanaatindeyiz ancak hepsinin üstünde biz PYD’nin bir silahlı muhalif gerilla grubu olmaktan çıkıp bir sistem oluşturan ve yapısal olarak bir yönetici hükümete dönüşümün önemine vurgu yapıyoruz. Bu yeni sistemde herkesin temsil edilmesinin gereğini belirtiyoruz. Tabii bunun zaman alacağının bilincindeyiz.

Bu bahsettiğiniz geçiş surecinde Rojava’daki yönetime yol gösterecek veya onları eğitebilecek kurumlar var mı? Oradaki yapı böylesi bir şeye açık mı?
Ben bu tarz bir çalışma yapan sadece bir grup biliyorum; Kürt Legal Araştırmalar ve Danışmanlık Merkezi (YASA). Kürt avukatlardan oluşan Avrupa merkezli bir organizasyon ve çeşitli konularda legal eğitimler veriyorlar. Anladığım kadarıyla Rojava’daki bu yapı böylesi bir çalışmaya açık ve kendilerini daha fazla geliştirmeyi istiyorlar. Ancak tekrar vurgulamak gerekirse asıl sorun ve beklenti PYD ve YPG’nin bir rahatlık, tolerans ve işbirliği ortamı sağlayıp diğer düşünce ve partilere çalışma alanı verip vermeyecekleri meselesidir. Tabi ki, biz şiddet içermeyen anlayışlara çalışma ortamı sağlanmasından bahsediyoruz ve yukarıda değindiğim hususlar bizce önem arz eden meselelerdir.

Amude olaylarını da incelediğinizi duydum. Doğru mu bu?
Evet doğru. Biz ayrıca Amude’yi de ziyaret ettik ve halen delilleri inceleme aşamasındayız. Aşırı güç kullanımına dair kaygılarımız mevcut, ancak savaşçılara karşı şiddet kullanılıp kullanılmadığından emin olmak için araştırmalarımızı devam ettirmek zorundayız. Asayiş yetkilileri bir savaşçılarının hayatını kaybettiğini söylüyorlar. Diğer tarafın iddiası ise bu kişinin protestolar sırasında değil, Haseke’deki çatışmada hayatını kaybettiğiydi. Sonuçta bunlar sadece iddialar ve bizler araştırmalarımız neticesinde bir sonuca varabileceğiz. Ancak sunu söyleyeyim ki bunun takipçisiyiz ve bu konudaki görüşümüzü bildireceğiz.

Ziyaretiniz Rojava’da demokratik özerklik ilan edilen bir döneme denk geldi. Bu konuda ne söylemek istersiniz?
PYD’nin bu yönetimde güçlü bir rol oynadığını düşünüyorum. Sanırım bunu kimse inkar edemez ve onların bunu inkar edeceğini düşünmüyorum. Yine ana temamıza dönecek olursak bu yapı gerçekten bir yönetime mi dönüşüyor yoksa bir hükümranlık aygıtı mı oluyor? Bu ikisi ayrı şeyler. PYD kuskusuz alandaki en güçlü yapı ve hükümet oluşumunda en güçlü etkiye sahipler.

Son olarak Esad güçlerinin Kamişlo ve çevresindeki yerleşim birimlerindeki varlığı ile ilgili durum nedir? Kamişlo’da bazı giriş ve çıkışların kontrol edildiğini biliyorum. Esad güçlerinin Kürt şehirlerindeki durumunu nasıl gördünüz?
Esad güçleri esas olarak Kamislo’da üç yerde bulunuyor. Birincisi ‘Güvenlik Meydanı’ adı verilen merkez mahallede. Sanırım bu bazı Arap mahallelerini de kapsıyor. İkincisi, Türkiye ile olan sınır kapısı, üçüncüsü de havaalanında. Bir kaç hafta önce Birleşmiş Milletler Dünya Yiyecek Programı bu havaalanı üzerinden insani yardım malzemeleri göndermişti. Yerel yetkililerin bize anlattığına göre, bir gram tahıl ya da pirincin bile Kurt bölgelerine ulaşmamış! Bu yardımlar büyük bir ihtimalle hükümetin denetimindeki bölgelere dağıtıldılar çünkü Kürt Bölgeleri’ne ulaştırılmadığı kesin. Öte yandan Esad güçleri ile Asayiş arasında bir çatışmasızlık anlaşması söz konusu. Sokakta birbirleriyle karşılaşıyorlar ancak iki taraf da çatışmadan kaçınıyor. Her iki kesimde de karşılıklı bir tolerans var ve birbirlerinin varlığına göz yumma konusunda anlaşmış gibiler.

Böyle bir anlaşmanın nedeni ne sizce?
Bana göre su anda birbirleriyle çatışmaları her iki tarafın da çıkarına değil. Böyle bir çatışma ancak iki tarafın ortak düşmanlarının işine yarar. İsim vermek gerekirse İslamcı güçlerin işine yarar. Bu yüzden karşılıklı bir çatışmasızlık anlayışı ve tolerans hakim. Ancak bunun böyle ne kadar devam edeceğini kestirmek güç. Sanırım ortak düşmanları var oldukça ya da siyasi dinamikler değişmedikçe bu durum böyle devam edecek ancak ondan sonra ne olur kestirmek zor. Bu bir soru işareti olarak duruyor.

Biliyorum son soru demiştim ama kısaca İslamcı Cihatçılarından da bahsedebilir misiniz? Onların da karıştığı insan hakları ihlalleri veya savaş suçları tespit ettiniz mi?
Evet. Hem de ilk sırada bu gruplar geliyor. Çünkü onlar ayrımsız bir şiddet uyguluyorlar ve bu çoğu zaman sivillerin ölümüne yol açıyor. Tabii bir de geçmişte sıkça rastlanan sivillerin kaçırılması sorunu vardı ve halen yer yer devam etmekte. Öte yandan ele gecen savaşçılara uygulanan kötü muamele durumu var. Geçenlerde Afrin’de ele geçirilen YPG’li savaşçıların kafalarının kesildiğine dair korkunç haberler gördümi. Bu aşırı bir şiddet ve bir savaş suçu örneği. Savaş esirlerine insanca muamele etmek zorundasınız.

Son olarak Resulayn (Serekaniye) ziyaret edemedik ama orada insanlar hastanelerin yağmalanmasından şikâyet ediyorlar. İslamcı güçler kasabaya hakimken hastanelerdeki medikal gereçleri çalıp götürmüşler. Bu tabi ki ciddi bir ihlal. Orası sivil bir hastaneydi ve insanlar o gereçleri çok güçlükle dışarıdan temin ediyorlardı.

Bernameya Taybet ya ser Kantonên Kurdî li Rojava (Special Program on Kurdish Autonomy in Syria)

Hello Washington Show of VOA Kurdish on Kurdish Autonomy in Syria Presented by Mutlu Civiroglu
Guests: Premier of Cizire (Qamishli) Canton Ekrem Heso, Premier of Kobane (Ain al-Arab) Canton Anwar Muslim

Also with their comments Mustafa Reshid, Hemin Kurdaghi and Mesiri Bekes

Time for U.S. to Embrace Syria’s Kurds

Mutlu Civiroglu, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Mutlu Civiroglu is a Washington, DC based-journalist and Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. You can follow him @mutludc. The views expressed are the writer’s own.

The United States has been searching for an ally in Syria since the uprising began in March 2011. But while the exiled opposition coalitions have been dogged by infighting and a lack of real influence inside Syria, and the armed opposition within the country is rife with extremists, Washington has been ignoring a natural and potentially valuable ally: the Kurds.

Kurds administer the most stable, peaceful corner of Syria, and have been open in trying to secure better relations with the West. Yet despite this, there is little to speak of in terms of ties. It is time for Washington to accept that if it wants to eventually see a peaceful, pluralistic Syria, then the Kurds are its best partners moving forward.

Unlike the main opposition coalition, Syrian Kurdish groups are united. Indeed, the two major Kurdish umbrella groups, the People’s Council of Western Kurdistan (PCWK) and the Syrian Kurdish National Council (SKNC), recently announced they had reached agreement on several key issues, including unified Kurdish participation at the Geneva II Conference.

Unfortunately, Washington does not seem interested in Kurdish participation. According to some SKNC leaders, U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford pressured Kurds to be part of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) rather than pushing for Kurdish participation in Geneva. “We don’t understand why Ford has such a negative attitude towards Kurdish parties,” SKNC official Ahmed Suleiman reportedly told Voice of America.

But this approach has little chance of success, especially as the SNC has shown little desire to recognize Kurdish demands. In fact, the SNC went as far as to denounce the Kurds’ recent declaration of autonomy: “Its declaration of self-rule amounts to a separatist act shattering any relationship with the Syrian people who are battling to achieve a free, united and independent state, liberated from tyranny and sovereign over all its territory,” the group said.

This failure to recognize Kurdish demands is at the root of much of the Kurdish suspicion of the Arab opposition. True, rather than take on a military equipped with sophisticated weapons and advanced air strike capabilities, Kurds have been trying to protect their homes and build self-government from the bottom up. But just because Kurds don’t want to fight the al-Assad regime on somebody else’s behalf doesn’t mean they are regime collaborators.

The picture is further complicated by the fact that Washington ally Turkey strongly rejects any status for Kurds, and has looked to prevent Kurdish participation in Geneva. These diverging interests between Washington and Ankara surely underscore that it is time for the international community to develop a Kurdish policy of its own.

The reality is that the armed Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) deserves recognition for fighting extremist groups. The YPG claims to have killed almost 3,000 fighters from fundamentalist groups such as al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, efforts that have also included notable roles for female fighters.

Meanwhile, Syrian Kurdistan is the safest and most stable corner of Syria, and has been a safe haven for those fleeing violence. The Kurdish focus on defending territory from both government brutality and extremist attacks, rather than taking a front and center role in the conflict, has meant that Arab, Assyrian and Chechen neighbors have been able to live relatively peacefully together in Kurdistan.

Against this backdrop, Kurds last month announced an interim administration to fill the vacuum that followed the regime’s 2012 withdrawal from Kurdistan. The administration aims to provide social, economic, educational and health services even as the people of Syrian Kurdistan live under tough conditions imposed by al Qaeda affiliates. There is, for example, a shortage of basics including bread, milk, baby food and medical equipment. A lack of electricity and fuel is making life difficult for locals during the winter, and providing assistance would be a good step for Western capitals to take if they want to boost ties with a population that could provide valuable support for their goals.

The U.S. and its allies would find it in their own interests to stop ignoring the Kurds and instead welcome their participation in Geneva – a conference that ignores Syria’s largest ethnic minority, after all, will not produce any viable solutions.

Kurds across the world have demonstrated their solidarity with Syrian Kurdistan. It is time that Washington joined them.

Time for U.S. to embrace Syria’s Kurds

Sidelined Syrian Kurds Take Geneva II Protest to Twitter

A hashtag calling for a Kurdish delegation at next week’s peace talks became the top trend on Twitter on Thursday and early Friday.

UNITED NATIONS (TRNS) – Activists frustrated with the marginalization of Syrian Kurdish delegates at the upcoming Geneva II peace talks took to Twitter this week, briefly making “#KurdsMustBeInGeneva2″ the number one trending topic worldwide on the social network.

A screenshot captured Friday afternoon in New York shows the hashtag as the second most popular worldwide

In recent months, Syrian Kurds have engaged in fierce battles with both Assad forces and, increasingly, extremist opposition groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra and the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, in an effort to retain control over their ethnic homeland.

But instead of being invited to the Geneva II conference, Syria’s Kurds were asked to fold their delegation into the single opposition group that was designed to feature the Istanbul-based Syrian National Coalition (SNC).

That decision threatens the viability of any political solution to the three-year civil war, Kurdish policy analyst Mutlu Civiroglu told TRNS by telephone

“In the future, if there is going to be an agreement, how will they implement this agreement in the Kurdistan region of Syria? If Kurds are not there, Geneva is not an agreement.”

Civiroglu described Syrian Kurdistan’s diverse government as a model of compromise for the war-torn country, a vision not articulated by the Assad government, the politically isolated SNC, or the wide array of Islamic militants flooding the battlefield.

The model in Western Kurdistan is “a great example of a future Syria,” Civiroglu said. “The administration is not only composed of Kurds, but Arabs, Armenians and religious minorities.”

While 2013 saw a sharp increase in attacks against religious minorities, including Syria’s Christian population, Civiroglu stressed that Syrian Kurdistan was not characterized by such violence.

In the rest of Syria, “people are beheaded, churches are demolished,” he said. “Not in Syrian Kurdistan.”

With the National Coordination Body (NCB)’s decision on Thursday to skip Geneva II, the very presence of any meaningful opposition groups at the peace conference appears to hinge on the SNC’s decision.

But regardless of the SNC’s final vote on attending Geneva II, the group remains plagued by internal disagreement, drawing into question its political influence and relevance to combatants.

“Meanwhile, the real power on the ground is not recognized.” Civiroglu said.

Asked who started the #KurdsMustBeInGeneva2 hashtag and helped it become the top trend among the social network’s roughly 250 million active users, Civiroglu denied knowing the movement’s creator, saying it was “just the Kurds.”

PYD’s Salih Muslim: We Want American People to Stand with Us

PYD’s Salih Muslim: We are Awaiting an Invitation for Talks with Washington
Leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim.

Salih Muslim, head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, says that clashes between his group and jihadi fighters affiliated with al-Qaeda have been on the rise, and appeals to the United States and Europe to understand that they are all facing a common enemy in the Syrian civil war. Muslim recently paid an important visit to Turkey, which has remained deeply suspicious of the PYD for its affiliation with Turkey’s own separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He believes that visit may open doors with negotiations with Washington, which so far has remained silent over media reports of Kurdish massacres by jihadi extremists. Here is an edited transcript of his interview with Rudaw:

Rudaw: The American media have covered the fight between Syrian Kurds and the Islamist al-Nusrah front, but the US administration has remained silent. What do you think about this?

  The jihadi groups do not target only Kurds, but also Assyrians, Armenians and other ethnic and religious minorities.  

Salih Muslim: The jihadi groups do not target only Kurds, but also Assyrians, Armenians and other ethnic and religious minorities. But it is only Kurds that are fighting against these jihadist groups in Syria. We fight with them for ourselves and for protecting our people. These attacks are continuing since the beginning of this year, but have been expanding recently. We have so far defeated them and we are fighting to prevent them from controlling new regions. I want the American public and the entire world to know that we are trying to stop these jihadist groups, and we want them to stand with us. These people attack innocent civilians and kill children, women and old people simply because they are Kurds. They issue fatwas that raping Kurdish women and looting their properties is legitimate, after you kill their husbands. This is what happened in Tal Abyad recently. In the Tal Arn and Tal Hasel towns of Aleppo tens of innocent Kurds, most of them children, were massacred. Also, hundreds of other civilians are being kept as hostages by these groups, and their fate is still unknown. This horrible mentality and these heartless crimes should be seen and condemned by everybody. Unfortunately, the United States and Europe have not done anything yet! Russia has recently been very vocal about the vicious crimes against us, but the US and Europe have not even condemned atrocities against civilian Kurds! Why are they ignoring attacks of these al-Qaeda related jihadists? We have so many injured and wounded people who need medicine, but they do not even send us humanitarian aid! Everybody in Syria received international aid, but not us, the Kurds! On the contrary, we are under an embargo from all around and we are trying to live under dire circumstances. We call upon the international community to hear our voice and show their solidarity and support for Kurdish people.

Rudaw: Recently, CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell told the Wall Street Journal that al-Qaeda extremism and civil war in Syria pose the greatest threat to US national security. Even though you are fighting the same groups, why do you think the US remains silent?

  Russia has recently been very vocal about the vicious crimes against us, but the US and Europe have not even condemned atrocities against civilian Kurds! 

Salih Muslim: In my opinion there are some who do not want to see that it is in the interest of Americans to meet with Kurds and get to know them better. As the chairman of the PYD, I have applied twice for a visa to travel to the United States, but they did yet not respond to my request. I wanted to go there so that I can tell American officials about our views, and inform them about the situation in Kurdistan and the rest of Syria. It seems like some people are trying to keep Americans away from us for their own interest; unfortunately, some Rojava Kurds are among these people. Whether those people like it or not, it is we who are fighting against the Jabhat al- Nusrah and other jihadist groups, and trying to stop them. Honestly speaking, I do not know either why American officials are not willing to meet with us. This question needs to be directed to them and especially to those who are at the Syrian desk of the State Department, so that we all know what their problem with the PYD is.

Rudaw: Do you have any problems with or any animosity against the United States?

Salih Muslim: Not at all! Not now, not before! We have never had any animosity against America and the American people. Quite the opposite, we see our future in Western democracy, and we are trying to implement it in our own society. We are trying to apply Western values to our society and further develop our way of life.

Rudaw: After your visit to Turkey, are you expecting a positive shift from Washington? Some believed that the US did not want contact with you because of Turkey. Now that Turkey itself has hosted you, are you expecting an invitation from Washington?

  We are trying to apply Western values to our society and further develop our way of life.  

Salih Muslim: We also thought that because of Turkey’s reaction Americans were not willing to talk with us. After I went to Turkey I shared our views with Turkish officials and told them about our vision. Following our talks we have realized that we think similarly on many points. Some issues had been conveyed to them in a wrong way. In my opinion, those who did not want us to have any contact with Turkey are the same people who are trying to create animosity between the US and the PYD. Rather than hearing from others, it is best to directly talk to someone, because you will understand each other better and you will get the most accurate information. So, yes we are expecting an invitation from Washington to talk to them and tell them what we stand for and what we want.

Rudaw: What would you say to the American people?

Salih Muslim: The United States is the cradle of democracy and the American people support freedom for everyone. (US presidents) Franklin, Roosevelt and others are all known for their support for freedom. Today, we are struggling for our freedom, and we are not far from what American people stand for. When we think about freedom it is America that comes to our minds. There is no doubt that the interests of the American people are not contrary to ours.  Those who attacked the American people are now invading our homes, and attacking Kurdish people. We want American people to stand with us in our fight against those who attacked them, and caused them deep grief.

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