Aldar Khalil: Let 2020 be year of liberation, freedom, stability

Interview with Aldar Khalil

Aldar Khalil called on the peoples of north and east Syria to join hands and work together in order to develop the Autonomous Administration, avoid mistakes and shortcomings, and also called for escalating the struggle for the liberation of the occupied territories. In addition, he congratulated all the peoples of the region on the occasion of the new year.

The statements of the Member of the Joint Presidency of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Aldar Khalil, came in the context of an interview held with him by Hawar news agency to talk about the overall situation and developments at the Syrian level and at the level of north and east Syria during 2020.

The following is the text of the interview:

The world and the Middle East witnessed difficult situations during 2020 in terms of wars and political, economic and social crises. How was the situation for the regions of north and east Syria during 2020?

The year 2020 was a difficult year for the Syrian people in general and for the peoples of north and east Syria in particular. During this year, the Middle East region in general has been affected by the politics, wars and crises left by the world order. It is known that Syria has been undergoing a deep and great crisis since 10 years, where Iraq, as well as other parts of Kurdistan are experiencing a deep crisis, the same applies to Yemen, Tunisia, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean regions, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

But the situation in north and eas Syria was peculiar, as it is part of Syria, and Syria suffers from a long-term crisis. During the year 2020, efforts for a political solution have not developed, and there are no signs of development of such efforts. The presence of mercenary groups as well as the Turkish occupation deepened the crisis in these areas. For the peoples of north and east Syria, the year 2020 began with the occupation of the Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî regions, meaning that part of the homeland was subjected to occupation, in addition to the occupation of Afrin two years preceded this. All this means more crises and problems. On the other hand, the world witnessed during the past year a health problem related to the spread of the Corona pandemic, and northeastern Syria regions also suffered from this pandemic.

Despite all the attacks and problems, observers of the situation in the region believe that the region is witnessing a state of social and economic stability and in various other aspects of life. In your opinion, what are the factors for this success?

  The attacks on the northeastern regions of Syria have not been witnessed in any other region, as the Turkish state is participating in the attacks, and we have also faced the attacks of ISIS, Jabhet al-Nusra and mercenary groups, all of whom preceded by the presence of the regime. But most important of all is the Turkish occupation. Despite all these attacks, our regions are witnessing a state of construction and prosperity in various social and mental fields, as well as in the fields of education, administration and the self-defense system.

 In the rest of the Syrian regions, the situation is different, in some areas there is the regime’s authority, while other areas are controlled by mercenaries and the Turkish state, and these mercenaries do not have the democratic culture, and they are not will-holders; rather, their will is at the hands of external forces and Turkey, as they cannot manage their areas in a manner consistent with the will of society, nor they can secure stability and security. As for the northern and eastern regions of Syria, there is the Democratic Autonomous Administration based on the ideology of the democratic nation which secures for all components to live in peace and harmony, as well as the issue of women's freedom, as it allows women to participate in various aspects of life and build a social system based on freedom and democracy. All these factors enabled these areas to overcome all obstacles and obstructions despite all attacks and pressures.

During 2020, the attacks of the Turkish occupation state and its mercenaries continued on the regions of north and east Syria. While the peoples of the region showed great resistance against these attacks, what is your reading of this matter?

Our people have been resisting since 2011, and what distinguishes the resistance of the peoples of the region is that all components participated in this resistance; Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs and the rest of the components joined hands in confronting the attacks. The Turkish state intervened during this year in many regions, such as Libya, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Somalia and Kashmir, indicating that these areas did not witness any cases of resistance. As for our regions, the matter is different, even though the Turkish state has geographically occupied some regions of north and east Syria, the peoples of the region have not surrendered their will to the Turkish state, and have not allowed the Turkish state to implement its plans.

The Turkish occupation state sought to occupy the entire regions of north and east Syria, and even at these moments there are still attacks targeting Ain Issa and the surrounding villages. The Turkish attacks have not stopped, but the resistance of the people of the region has thwarted all Turkish plans.

How do you evaluate the performance of some circles that call themselves the opposition during the past year, regarding the projects of those circles to solve the Syrian crisis?

In 2020, it became clear that these groups are mercenary groups that can be bought with money, and they do not represent a revolution. Previously, they called themselves through the media the opposition and claimed that they represent the revolution of the Syrian people, but it appeared that some parties such as Turkey and Qatar gave them money, assigned them to this role, and asked them to claim that they represent the revolution in this region, and they were entrusted with some tasks. In 2012 they attacked our areas as well, but thanks to the resistance, they were unable to achieve their goals. In 2018-2019-2020, they participated again in the attack on our areas on the side of the Turkish state. Those who were claiming to be opponents of the regime went to our regions because Erdogan and the Turkish state told them: Do not go to Damascus, but to the regions of north and east Syria. But what happened in 2020 is that these groups went to places outside Syria on the orders of the Turkish state, where they went to Libya, Qarbakh, and other places.

What are the reasons for which Erdogan prevented the gangs from heading to Damascus and directing them towards the regions of north and east Syria?

Erdogan does not care whether Syria is democratic or not, and he does not care about changing the dictatorial regime. On the contrary, what Erdogan cares about is killing any seed of democratic change, fighting and eliminating it. Erdogan does not have any problem if Bashar al-Assad remains in power, and he sees no harm in that because his remaining does not mean building a democratic system. But in the regions of north and east Syria there is an administration that is constantly developing, and this also means achieving a democratic order, and Erdogan does not accept this, so he uses these groups and achieves two goals from behind this, the first is to eliminate the democratic system, and the second is to occupy the Syrian regions in the name of these groups and to annex them to the Turkish territory.

During 2020, many meetings were held on resolving the Syrian crisis, as well as meetings of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, but the representatives of north and east Syria were not included in these meetings, how do you assess this matter?

As it is known, since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the United Nations issued UN Resolution No. 2254 on resolving the Syrian crisis, and the UN envoy was assigned to bring together all the Syrian parties and the influential forces in the Syrian file to develop and establish a project to solve the Syrian crisis. However, as the Syrian revolution entered its tenth year, this matter did not materialize. There are three main reasons, the first is the Syrian opposition which is not a Syrian opposition in the true sense; rather, it consists of mercenary groups backed by Turkey and Qatar operating inside Syria and on behalf of the Syrian opposition, and they do not have any democratic project to solve the Syrian crisis. The second reason is that the regime is not serious about solving the Syrian crisis. As for the third reason, it is that the countries or the influential powers in the Syrian file do not have the real intention to end the crisis and solve it, and have not yet made their decision to end the crisis because their interests require this, enhancing their influence in the Middle East under the name of the Syrian file. During 2020, several meetings were held, but none of them resulted in resolving the crisis. They said that they are meeting to draft a new constitution for Syria, but they have failed even to start the discussions.

There is a basic reason; it is that the representatives of the Syrian people did not participate in those meetings, the people who attended the meetings represented Turkey and Qatar, while the rest represented the regime. As for the representatives of the Syrian people, they did not participate. There are many democratic forces and democratic personalities, and in the regions of north and east Syria there are those who represent the people of Syria, all of them were excluded from participating in those meetings because the participation of these forces means that steps will be taken towards a solution.

In this context, what is your assessment of the Damascus government's position? To which level the diplomatic communication between the Autonomous Administration and Damascus reached?

From the beginning, we have emphasized the importance of dialogue and communication with Damascus and resolving the crisis through dialogue. During the year 2020, the regime suffered from many crises and problems, especially with regard to the U.S. Caesar sanctions. The series of U.S. sanctions on Iran has also weakened Iran, and it is no longer able to help the regime as it did in the past, and in Lebanon there is a crisis that affected the Syrian regime. Despite all that, the regime did not take any step towards a solution, nor did it open any channel for dialogue. Some efforts took place, but these efforts did not contribute to the start of the dialogue although we asked the Russians to intervene as a mediator in these discussions.

We hope that during 2021 we will be able to start dialogue and discussions, and we hope that the regime will realize the fact that it is retreating and weakening day after day, and the areas it controls suffer from very difficult conditions. The regime also needs to negotiate and agree with the Autonomous Administration in order to reach a solution that paves the way for resolving the Syrian crisis in general.

The topic of the Kurdish parties' discussions for the Kurdish unity  distracts public opinion in Rojava. What is your evaluation of what the Kurdish ranks have reached? What are the problems that hinder these talks?

During 2020, we sought to reach an agreement among the Kurdish parties, for the Kurdish parties to come together and to reach an understanding, or to reach an important outcome before the end of the year. Accordingly, we started discussions, first on behalf of the Democratic Union Party and later on behalf of the National Unity Parties, in response to the efforts of the Commander in Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces and the mediation of the United States of America. Our efforts began in order to start discussions with the Kurdish National Council in Syria and to reach an understanding, while the National Council is present outside Rojava, and it is a member of the Syrian National Coalition, meaning that the front to which the National Council belongs is not a front that defends the interests of Rojava people, on the contrary, it was the same that participated in the occupation of Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî. In fact, we do not want to see any Kurdish party on that front.

The talks continued for several months. Some understandings were achieved, including the understanding on establishing a supreme Kurdish reference, and a number of points were also agreed somewhat. However, some problematic points remained under discussion, for example the issue of participation in the Autonomous Administration, as the council wanted to obtain half of the participation in the Autonomous Administration. There was also the issue of changing the social contract, and it is known that changing the terms of the social contract includes changing important items that need long discussions. Discussing all these topics has reached certain levels. Later, the American elections began, and the American representative left Rojava regions for Washington, so the talks were suspended, we do not know exactly when the talks will resume, but we can say that 2020 was the year of efforts to achieve unity among the Kurdish parties in Rojava Kurdistan to form a ground for the comprehensive national unity project.

Regarding the discussions of the Kurdish parties as well, some positions have aroused the discontent of the Kurdish community, especially with regard to the demands of the National Assembly. As well as the issue of a visit by a council leader to Afrin and a visit to the grave of one of the mercenaries killed, in addition, photos showed his meeting with the murderer of the martyr Hevrin Khalaf. All these actions aroused the discontent of the Kurdish Street, and you were also criticized. What is your opinion on this matter?

During our discussions, there are issues that we suggest and discuss constantly, and we still raise these issues and think that it is necessary to solve them in the future.

 Among those topics are for example: Does the National Council accept that these areas are occupied areas? Does it accept that its allies are from the Syrian National Coalition and the Turkish state attacked our areas and occupied them? Meaning, does it accept the necessity to work in the future for the liberation of these areas? The truth is that there is a lot of problematic in these issues, but we always strive to bypass and ignore the problematic issues; rather, we always seek to find solutions. However, these issues remain sensitive and important for our people, for the families of the martyrs, and in particular for our people who were displaced from Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî.

The people ask us "if there is agreement between you and you achieve unity, will you agree that these areas are occupied and must be liberated? Will you make such a decision?" As for the issue of Abdullah Keddo's visit to the occupied territories, it is a sensitive and dangerous subject that cannot be accepted. The parties that seek to participate in the Autonomous Administration, seize the share of half of the Adminsitration, and unite with us send their representative to the occupied territories, while we are supposed to have common positions against the occupation, as he visited the grave of one of the mercenaries who were killed during the attack on our regions, and read the Fatiha at his grave, as well as met with the killer of the martyr Hevrin Khalaf. We do not view the matter personally, relating to Abdullah Keddo because he represents a political component, a council, and this council must clarify its position on this issue.

During the Kurdish parties' talks, the delegation of the National Council went to Turkey, and also met with the Kurdistan Democratic Party. On the other hand, and during the recent period, the Democratic Party has mobilized its forces on the border with Rojava. It also became clear that the Democratic Party is moving with the Turkish state and mobilizing its forces in the regions where PKK is located. Given all these developments, how do you read the efforts of Kurdish national unity in general?

For our part, we act from our faith and sense of nationhood for the necessity to achieve the Kurdish unity. We believe that it is of utmost importance that all Kurdish forces be reunited, and there must be no Kurdish party on the front of the enemies. But what raises our fears now, as well as the fears of the Kurdish people is that these parties resort to evasion and move in accordance with different plans. For example, here we are seeking to achieve understanding and consensus. What is the reason for you to go to Ankara and other places? Is the Turkish state working for the benefit of the Kurdish people? It is known that the Turkish state does not want the Kurdish forces to unite. On the other hand, if you are truly working for the unification of the Kurdish ranks, then this unity must be at the service of the unity of the rest of Kurdistan as well. But when we see that the forces of the Kurdistan Democratic Party close our borders, and we see the escalation of tension between the PKK and the KDP, this matter raises our fears and the fears of the people as well, then we wonder what their intentions are? What are they doing, are they seeking to impose the siege on Rojava, or to attack the Guerrilla in Southern Kurdistan, and block the road between Southern Kurdistan and Rojava? So this means that there are no good intentions, and this is something that cannot be accepted. It will lead to abort the positive results that have been achieved at the level of Kurdish unity, or it will lead to negative results. What is ongoing in Hewlêr is closely related to what is happening in Sulaymaniyah, Amed, Qandîl and Afrin, and cannot be separated from each other. It is not permissible for us to say that we will achieve unity here, and in return they are mobilizing their forces and imposing a siege on us. Therefore, we always say that the will of the Kurdish people is one. The efforts of Kurdish unity must be strengthened, and these endeavors must pave the way to achieve Kurdish unity in the rest of Kurdistan.

Recently, Masrour Barzani, as president of Southern Kurdistan Region, called on the United States to stop its support for the Syrian Democratic Forces, how do you assess this position?

This was not our hope from Mr. Masrour Barzani. He should have acted more responsibly, instead of providing support and assistance, showing positive positions, and instead of regional international relations contributing to supporting Rojava, he calls for America to stop support for the forces that defended the Kurdish people's dignity and humanity's dignity, the forces that contributed In eliminating a great danger threatening humanity, represented by the People and Women's Protection Units and the Autonomous Administration, and thus working on harassing on these forces. This position is not at all in harmony with the national positions, which a figure like Mr. Masrour is supposed to adhere to.

During 2020, the issue of Şengal also emerged, as the Southern Kurdistan Regional Government signed an agreement regarding Şengal with the Iraqi government. What is your opinion on the subject? What is the Turkish role in all of this? What is your position in north and east Syria on this agreement?

Turkey has a hand in whatever happens in this region, and the correct position is that no Kurdish force becomes a tool in Turkey's hands to implement its plans, and to act according to its free will. Şengal has suffered a lot, the people of Şengal have been subjected to massacres and displacement. Instead of Southern Kurdistan forces contributing to the work of rebuilding Şengal, helping the people of Şengal to manage their affairs, achieve stability in the Yazidi community, and based on the wishes of the Turkish state, they made an agreement with the Iraqi government and brought the Iraqi army to Şengal. Their goal was to eliminate the Autonomous Administration established there. But the Turkish plan is not limited to that only, Turkey seeks to besiege the Rojava regions. The people of Şengal run their own affairs. They are the people and inhabitants of that area. You may not agree with them on many issues, but the people of that region managed to organize their affairs, and also the Democratic Party could have organized its affairs there and held elections, the issue could have been resolved internally. The truth is that this scheme is the blueprint of the Turkish state, and the Democratic Party must correct its position and backtrack on these policies.

What are your hopes and projects for the new year 2021?

We all hope that 2021 will be the year of freedom and liberation, and in particular the liberation of occupied areas such as Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî, these areas must be liberated, we must work to organize our full energies in various fields and raise struggle to the top levels for the sake of liberating these areas. The liberation of the occupied areas has been delayed, our people there are suffering a lot, they are suffering from displacement and living in the camps. Our primary mission is to liberate these territories. Therefore, I appeal to all our people to join hands and escalate struggle, so that we can liberate these areas.

We also hope during the new year to work in order to communicate with Damascus with the aim of strengthening dialogue and resolving the crisis. We must mobilize our full energies to find a solution. The same applies to developing the administration present in the regions of north and east Syria, in terms of carrying out the necessary reforms and strengthening institutions, and that we work together to overcome and avoid the shortcomings that appeared during the past year, and work together to endow our people and all the peoples of the region with a model for democracy and progress.

Accordingly, I congratulate all our patriotic people, especially the families of the martyrs and all those who contribute to this resistance on the occasion of the new year, and I hope that 2021 will be the year of freedom and stability.