Kurdish opposition figure Abdulhamid Hajj Darwish stated that the independence referendum that was held in Iraqi Kurdistan in September 2017 backfired against the region.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat however that democracy remains the best option for the Kurds in the area.
Hajj Darwish is one of the three founding members of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria in 1957 and has enjoyed a long political career
He expressed his concerns over Turkey’s recent campaign in Syria’s Afrin region against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“The Turkish military is waging an unjust operation with the backing of extremist factions that call themselves a ‘free army’,” he added.
“The latter is in fact attacking its own nation with the support of the Turkish army,” he continued.
He accused Ankara of seeking to seize control of northwestern Syria and occupying Afrin. Manbij will be its future target, he warned.
“The Turkish project has been carefully prepared in cooperation with influential players in the Syrian file,” Hajj Darwish told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Asked to explain his previous remarks that the best option for the Kurds in Afrin is to hand over the region to the Syrian regime forces, he commented: “Turkey wants to expel Kurds from their homes.”
It has claimed that it was combating terrorists and extremists along its border with Syria, but it wants to kick the Kurds out of the region, he asserted.
He reiterated that the regime should take control of Afrin in order to thwart Turkey’s agenda and occupation of the region.
Addressing rivalries between various Kurdish groups, he said the tensions are best resolved through democracy and the electoral boxes, not violence.
“The rights of the Kurdish people are not decided by us alone, but they should be agreed upon with various segments of the Syrian population,” Hajj Darwish added.
“What they agree on will serve the interest of our country, Syria,” he stressed.
Tackling the Geneva talks aimed at reaching peace in Syria, he said that when he attended the Geneva 2 conference, he had warned that a lack of agreement among the Syrians would empower the terrorists and extremists.
Hajj Darwish took part in the talks as part of the Syrian delegation at the United Nations-sponsored Geneva 2 talks that took place on February 10, 2014.
“I said it once back then, and I will say it again: The solution should be achieved through Syria. I call on the regime and opposition factions to sit at the dialogue table to end the crisis that has destroyed the country,” he demanded.
Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat why he refused to attend the January Sochi Syria congress, he replied: “We did not go because Turkey was one of the main organizers of the meeting.”
“Turkey is assaulting Syria’s Afrin on a daily basis, so how can it be an honest party in resolving the crisis?” he wondered.