Syria: Kurds killed, abducted and subject to surveillance by security forces
Statement from YASA e.V.– Kurdish Center for Legal Studies & Consultancy
At the beginning of the Syrian revolution the position of Kurds in Syria towards the regime was as clear as never before. To the Kurds, the revolution poses a chance to free themselves from the systematic and constant oppression of the past five decades. Their greatest hope, above all, is to put an end to the discrimination against the Kurdish minority and to accelerate the political movement in order for Kurds to play an active role in the political scene in Damascus.
In order to support the democratic movement and to express the demands of the Kurdish population, various Syrian-Kurdish organizations formed the ‘Kurdish National Council’ (KNCS) in October 2011. KNCS came up with a program aiming at ending the conflict by peaceful means and suggested clear reforms for a future Syrian state. Forming the main representative body of the Kurds in Syria, the KNCS serves as a medium for the minority’s interests. The suggestion to re-build Syria, a country with several religious and ethnic minorities, as a federal system, thus giving sufficient room for self-determination within the heterogenic nation, is one of the Council’s most important demands. Indeed, the right to self-determination is manifested in the UN-Charter, Article 1.
However, the negotiations with other Arab parties have shown that there is no appreciation for such a proposal. Other Arab opposition groups aiming at a peaceful solution are refusing to acknowledge Kurdish demands, therewith making a consensus between all opposition groups difficult. Unity amongst the opposition groups is crucial in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Despite the disappointing outcome of the negotiations with the Arab opposition, Kurds in Syria have participated in the protests. After a week of demonstration in Daraa, the Kurds took peaceful protest to other Kurdish areas such as al-Qamishli, ʿAmudah, Darbasiyah, Raʾs al-ʿAin (Serê Kaniyê), ʿAin al-ʿArab (Kobanî), al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), al-Hasakah, Afrin and to the predominantly Kurdish neighborhood Ruknuddin in Damascus.
During the last two weeks many Kurdish recruits in the army were killed because they had refused to shoot at civilians. Consequently, Assad’s regime is responsible for the murders of recruit Berzan Shmoniha, recruit Aras Sabri Shakir, recruit Shindar Salah Shakir, recruit Hawker Saleh Ali. In al-Malikiyah (Dêrik) the Syrian security forces injured Nasre Alddin Berhec member of the politburo of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria (Al- Party) and in Afrin city the Syrian security forces killed the Kurdish activist and member of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party in Syria Dr. Sherzad Haji Rashid. On February 6, 2012 the Syrian security forces abducted Muhammad Yusuf (member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference), Ibrahim Biro (member of the politburo of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria as well as member of the Executive Committee of the Kurdish Patriotic Conference) and Salih Sufi (member of the politburo of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Reconciliation).
The current situation in the Kurdish areas is anything but stable. In the majority of Kurdish cities, and especially in Al-Jazira, the Syrian military have penetrated the area. Public life is under constant surveillance by the intelligence services and the so-called “Alshabiha”. Public life has nearly diminished, as the people are afraid of supporters of the regime, making security in the streets almost non-existent.
Detention, torture and assassinations of Kurdish leaders and intellectuals during the growing number of demonstrations is part of the security forces’ daily business. Failure to include representatives of the Kurdish population in talks about the future of Syria will only create problems, most notably ethnic tensions, once Assad’s regime is gone. Therefore, only a united and consequently strong voice from opposition groups can change the course of current events.
Mohammad Miro Hasinyani
YASA e.V.– Kurdish Center for Legal Studies & Consultancy
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