Syrian Kurds divided on international
January 31, 2012
The first conference of the Syrian Kurds in Erbil,
the capital of Kurdistan region of Iraq.
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ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', —
Representatives of Syria's Kurdish community are
divided on the issue of seeking a foreign military
intervention to help topple Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad, who is trying to crush a popular uprising.
NATO-led forces, which carried out air strikes in
Libya last year after popular protests gave way to
an armed uprising, were instrumental in long-time
strongman Moammar Qaddafi's fall.
About 210 Syrian Kurds from 25 countries
participated in a conference in Erbil, the capital
of the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq,
which was held from Saturday to Sunday.
The final statement issued at the conference
denounced "the violence of the Syrian security
forces against protesters and insisted on the
importance of cooperation among Kurds inside and
Jawad Mella, the radical secretary general of the
Kurdish National Congress, called during the meeting
for "an [autonomous] Kurdish government in Syria"
and said he is in favor of a foreign military
"International intervention is the only solution
because we have already had the experience of Saddam
Hussein's regime, which would never have fallen
without outside intervention," he told AFP,
referring to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq that
toppled the dictator.
"The Syrian Baath [Party] is of the same nature as
the Iraqi Baath, and nothing can eliminate it except
an outside intervention. This is the only solution,"
Saadeddin al-Mulla, a leader of the Al-Likiti party
(Democracy in Kurdish), said: "There are already
external interventions, notably by Iran and Turkey,
so the UN must make decisions based on Chapter VII
of its charter."
Chapter VII provides for various measures, including
military intervention, in cases of threats to peace
or acts of aggression.
But NATO so far has ruled out a Libya-style
intervention in Syria.
Going to the UN is also the wish of Hamad Darwish,
the secretary of the Kurdish Progressive Party of
one of the oldest Kurdish groups in Syria.
"If the Arab League cannot impose its solutions, the
file should be passed to the Security Council which
cannot remain a spectator in the face of what is
happening in the country," he said.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party in Syria was more
"It is too early for an international intervention,
and I believe we must seek a national solution
before international pressure in the political,
economic, media and diplomatic domains," its leader
Abdel Hakim Bashar said.
Syrian Kurds represent about nine percent of the
country's population and are mainly located in the
northeast and Damascus, where they form an important
They say they have been the subject of political
discrimination for decades, and demand recognition
of their language and culture and want
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