Salih Muslim, the co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party, the main party of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, has rejected the PYD having any links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Muslim, however, admitted that the PYD and PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organization in Türkiye, share a “common philosophy.”
“They accuse our party of affiliation with the PKK so they can label us as terrorists as well and prepare for launching a war against the PYD,” Muslim told Asharq Al-Awsat in an interview.
“We believe that the PKK is not a terrorist organization, but it has been placed on the terror list based on Turkish demands and pressures,” added Muslim.
“It is true that we are ideologically similar to the PKK in the sense that we derive our ideas, work, and strategy from the ideas and theories of Abdullah Ocalan, because he is a Kurdish and global leader,” explained Muslim.
“However, we are not linked to the PKK in any organizational or membership form whatsoever,” he said.
Muslim considered that the meetings, which took place between the Syrian regime and Türkiye, are like a “forced marriage that is fated to end in divorce.”
“The parties that seek to complete this marriage, whether it is Russia or Iran, know and realize that it will not last, and its inevitable fate is divorce,” Muslim told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“There are great contradictions between Damascus and Ankara, and if this rapprochement achieves a political solution, it is welcome, and if it puts an end to this war, it is also welcome,” he added.
“I do not think that this normalization will develop and take the form of friendly relations, as it was before 2011. This is due to the great contradictions and differences between the Syrian state and Türkiye,” he explained.
The PYD, which was founded in 2003, has risen to prominence with the start of the Syrian civil war.
It, with the help of Arab, Christian, and Kurdish parties, established “autonomous regions” in three parts of northeastern Syria. These regions were established in areas where the population is mostly made up of Kurds.
During the siege of Kobani in 2014, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a mainly Kurdish group affiliated with the PYD, gained the support of the US-led international coalition against ISIS.
With that help, the YPG secured control over territory located in four Syrian provinces. According to 2017 estimates, this territory amounted to one-third of the area of Syria.
Türkiye, concerned over the growth of the PYD’s influence, launched three military operations.
In 2016, it launched Operation Euphrates Shield. In 2018, it launched Operation Olive Branch. In 2019, it launched Operation Peace Spring.
These three military ventures resulted in the PYD and YPG losing control over key cities.