Senior Kurdish official on Damascus: 'We don't want a military solution, but we must prepare for self defence'

by The Region   Reuters  


On Wednesday, the co-chair of the executive committee of TEV-DEM (Movement for a Democratic Society), Aldar Khalil, spoke at the first conference of the Internal Security Forces of northern Syria where he addressed the trials and difficulties of beginning negotiations with Damascus.

"You hold your first conference under the shadow of sensitive circumstances, transformations, and conflict ..." Khalil said,  as you know, Turkey has occupied part of Turkey .. it has occupied Afrin, and we ought to never forget that Afrin is occupied and it ought to be liberated," he continued.

Khalil then proceeded to tell the first cohort of northern Syria's Internal Security Forces (ISF) that they were surrounded by threatening enemies.

"The threats continue, Turkey and its affiliates threats, IS threatens and other groups threaten, the regime threatens and too many other actors make their threats.. this ought to make us realize the importance of strengthening our self-defence capabilities, and in particular when it comes to internal security."      

Khalil warned of those elements he believed to be embedded within the territory held by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, who were dedicated to propagating the notion that the federation was paving the way for Damascus to return and establish its rule over their territory. 

"Let me make it clear right here," Mr. Khalil said, "If we wanted the regime to come back then why would have we had a revolution in the first place? .. If the regime was great and the people accepted it, why did the peoples' of Syria rise up and demand the fall of the regime?"

Khalil then proceeded to explain the alternative that the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria proposed for the future. 

"Let's be realistic, the regime, with its centralising tendencies and its emphasis on one party, one nation, one form of rule, one centre of power, all of these issues have been rejected and no one will accept them. We only want to live in peace. The only way forward is for the construction of a democratic Syria, and this can't be done if it's built on the pillar of one nation, one religion, one school of thought, and one ruling party."  

Khalil, furthermore, reinforced the point that the authorities of northern Syria were looking to avoid any military solutions to the problems that they face ahead. But, he insisted, if they were to find their only recourse to be a military solution it would have been out of self-defence. 

"If you find that we are improving our defence capabilities, it is not because we are looking for a military solution, it is just for self- defence. We are hoping that we can get [our opponents] on the negotiating table... We prefer the political route towards a democratic Syria, of which we have set a model for greater Syria under our administrations in north Syria"

But the Syrian government, Khalil insisted, didn't seem interested in negotiation. "Whether its a tactical move or not, we don't know. But at this moment, there haven't been any negotiations with them... Some on social media have been spreading rumours, but unfortunately, we haven't even begun negotiations on these points."

Fearing the worst, Mr. Khalil said that the autonomous administration must prepare itself for a potential assault by Assad, should Damascus reject a diplomatic route. "Those who reject our democratic project are in the many, and prime among them is the Syrian regime. We are ready for the discussions, but we also have to be prepared for self-defence."  

"If [negotiations] happen, then it would great. If they don't, then the revolutionary struggle goes on", he concluded, in the name of what he called the martyrs of their struggle.