Rojava Peshmergas only to enter Syria in agreement with PYD: Kurdish official

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Kurdish forces of the Rojava Peshmerga taking a break after clashes with ISIS militants in the vicinity of Makhmur town in northern Iraq. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Kawa Azizi, a member of the Central Committee of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S), said that the Rojava Peshmerga forces will only return to Syria in agreement with other parties to prevent Kurdish infighting.

The Iraqi Kurdish Rudaw media network had reported on Sunday that the KDP-S official Kawa Azizi said that the Rojava Peshmergas would be deployed to Syria possibly after the conclusion of the peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana and would increase its forces to 15,000 fighters. However, Azizi denied that and said the report was inaccurate

Aldar Xelil, a member of the Executive Council of the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM), a PYD organization, said on Twitter that the move would be dangerous.

“Bringing the armed KDP militia in the name of the army of Syrian Kurdistan on the agenda will lead to a civil war and is a risky process,” he said.

However, Kawa Azizi said that there is no such a thing like “Syrian Kurdistan Army”. The official made it clear that there are only two Roj Peshmerga brigades established with the support of Iraqi Kurdistan’s president Masoud Barzani at the request of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) in Syria and that the number of forces are unknown.

Major General Bahjat Taymas from the Kurdish Zerevani Peshmerga forces previously told ARA News that there are approximately 3,000 Rojava Peshmerga forces.

Azizi clarified that these forces are not an army, but part of the Zerevani forces under the command of the Ministry of Peshmerga and that there are assurances from the US-led coalition to protect and support this force.

Meanwhile, President Barzani gave assurances there would be no Kurdish civil war in northern Syria, stressing that this is also not in the interest of the United States.

“We don’t want to see Kurdish–Kurdish fighting in Rojava, that is why we have not sent back the Rojava Peshmerga,” Barzani said last week during the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“The actual number of these forces is approximate, and no one knows when and how these forces will come to Syrian Kurdistan,” Kawa Azizi said. “It is known to everyone that we insist and emphasize that these forces will not enter without an agreement [with the PYD], in order to prevent any clashes between Kurds,” Azizi added.

Masrour Barzani, the head of the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC), has started lobbying in Washington to ensure the return of the Rojava Peshmerga. He argues that the “Peshmerga of Rojava can be the bridge to lessen regional tensions and a force multiplier in the anti-ISIS campaign.”

However, Pentagon officials have reportedly rejected the idea, saying that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have the most effective fighters in northern Syria, and that trying to assemble, train and equip an alternative force could be difficult and at best would take months.

Speaking to ARA News, Ceng Sagnic, a researcher with the Tel Aviv-based Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, said: “They said YPG is the official fighting force of the canton administrations and any other side that wants to contribute to the security of Rojava should join the YPG. They also argue that the presence of two armies in Rojava will ignite infighting.”

Kurdish officials of the Democratic Union Party (PYD)–which runs the canton administrations north Syria– have told the KNC and the Peshmerga of Rojava that they can join the YPG on an individual basis, but not as a separate force.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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