NORTH AND EAST SYRIA — In a live interview with Rossiya-24 on Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied the existence of a “Kurdish issue” in Syria, echoing pre-war sentiment that alienated many of Syria’s minorities.
“Regarding the so-called ‘Kurdish issue’, there is nothing called a ‘Kurdish issue’ in Syria for a simple reason: Kurds have been living in Syria throughout history but some [Kurdish] groups who live the north came [to Syria] during the last century due to Turkish [government] oppression,” said Assad.
He continued, “We hosted them in Syria. Kurds, Armenians, and other different groups in Syria and there have been no problems… Why should there be an issue with Kurds?”
“They took citizenship in Syria although they were originally not Syrians. Therefore, we are always positive towards the subject of Kurds. The so-called ‘Kurdish issue’ is not true but illusive and a lie,” he added
Numerous political parties and organizations in North and East Syria issued a joint press statement regarding Assad’s rehetoric.
********** PRESS STATEMENT **********
We affirm that all components of the Syrian people in North and East Syria, Arabs, Kurds, Syriacs and all the other components, are authentic and coexist with each other from the beginning, even before the current Syrian State borders were drawn.
The peoples of the region suffered from persecution and deprivation of their cultural and political rights. In the past decades, they have been pursued and dealt with as terrorist organizations. Moreover, their issues and problems were not resolved within the national framework. However, these components were able to develop their Democratic Autonomous Administration, making it a model for all of Syria. Stability will not be accomplished unless democracy is established in Syria and every Syrian citizen attains her or his individual, general rights and her or his absolute freedom of expression.
We affirm that our people have never participated in threatening the unity of Syria, we call upon the Syrian government to search carefully for those who seek dividing the original Syrian geography.
Furthermore, we believe that the Syrian government and its reading of the general situation, especially in North and East Syria, is a wrong orientation which does not serve the government’s interest nor the Syrians’. But rather, the government reading serves Turkey’s interest and Erdogan’s plans against our country Syria. In addition, it serves everyone who wants to destroy Syria and threaten its unity. Therefore, we call upon the Syrian government to adopt the language of reason and come closer to the Syrian true reality without any disregard, because disregard complicates matters more. Instead, Syria needs reasonable and realistic situations that can achieve stability, safety and a democratic solution.
In conclusion, we affirm that we, as political parties in North and East Syria, have a fixed and only attitude, which is that WE ARE PART of the democratic solution project in Syria. We work for a pluralistic and democratic Syria, one with a common struggle.