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 New Syrian rebel group named after Iraqi Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani

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New Syrian rebel group named after Iraqi Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani  1.12.2012    







 
A group of masked gunmen in Syria have announced in a video the formation of a Kurdish brigade bearing the name of the late Iraqi Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani. Photo: Ekurd.net/Youtube.
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December 1, 2012

SYRIAN KURDISTAN,— A group of masked gunmen in Syria have announced in a video the formation of a Kurdish brigade bearing the name of the late Iraqi Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani.

The group posted a 1.9-minute video on YouTube on 28 November in Arabic, to make the announcement.

The clip shows a group of masked men inside a room carrying guns, with one man reading a statement in Arabic from a laptop computer.

The group calls itself ‘The Grandchildren of Immortal Barzani’s Brigade’ (Arabic: Kataibat Ahfad Barzani al-Khalid), a reference to the late Iraqi Kurdish leader and founder of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Mustafa Barzani, the father of the current Iraqi Kurdistan Region president, Massoud Barzani.

The statement says that the group “appreciates” Massoud Barzani’s efforts to unite the Kurdish ranks in Syria, while adding that it supports the goals of the Syrian armed revolution as long as it endorses Kurdish rights. It also says that a group of young Kurds set up the brigade to provide security in the Kurdish areas and prevent the “regime from sowing sedition among the components of the Jazaira area”, the predominantly Kurdish region in north-east Syria.

Barzani told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV in July that the Kurdistan Regional Government was “training” fleeing Syrian Kurds inside a camp in the Kurdistan Region with a view to filling in the security vacuum left by the retreating Syrian army in the Kurdish-populated areas.

It is not clear if members of this brigade have been trained in neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan or indeed if they are connected to Barzani and his party.

The Kurdish areas in Syria, which mainly lie in the north-east of the country, have been largely spared the violence engulfing the rest of the country since an armed rebellion started against the government of Bashar al-Asad in March 2011.

The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (more widely known by its Kurdish acronym, PYD), which has an armed wing, reportedly has the upper hand in the Kurdish areas outside the government’s control and runs day-to-day affairs,www.ekurd.net including security.

Barzani is reportedly closer to the Syrian Kurdish National Council, an umbrella group representing 15 parties declared with his blessing in Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil in October 2012.

Turkey – a key backer of the Syrian opposition and Barzani’s ally – strongly opposes the PYD, an off-shoot of its own rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A brief report on the YouTube video was also carried by several Iraqi Kurdish websites.

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