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Co-leader of Syrian Democratic Council says federalism is adequate choice: INTERVIEW

Interviews | 2017-03-05 09:38:11
Co-leader of Syrian Democratic Council says federalism is adequate choice: INTERVIEW

By Abdullah Ghadawi

(Zaman Al Wasl)- The co-leader of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Council in northern Syria believed that the federalism and autonomous administration could be beneficial in the Syrian case given the failure of the Baathist citizenship project.

Riad Darar, in an interview with Zaman al-Wasl, said adopting the autonomous administration in Syria confirms that unity of Kurdish-Arab co-existence, and he pointed out that Deir Ez Zor is amiable to the idea of federalism, but it requires spreading awareness.

Discussing his political transitions, he said the Coordination Committee is lost today and what to be everywhere as it is in the Riyadh Committee, the Moscow Platform, and the Cairo Platform, and wondered where it stands exactly.

The interview:

- In light of the suspicion of the Autonomous Administration project, do you think that as the co-leader of the Syrian Democratic Council you are in the right place?

I will be honest about this issue, my presence with the Kurds is to prove to them that they are Syrians within the Syrian framework, and for them to prove to others that they are working within that framework. Perhaps we will reach common ground with the Kurds, why not? At the end of the day, the Autonomous Administration project is contingent on the response of society, and perhaps there will be other projects, and this is what the people will decide. In Syria today it is a struggle over programs.

- But you were not for a federal structure so how did you come to this new way of thinking about the Syrian case?

This is particular to the nature of thought of the Kurdish project. Some see it as a project for division but that is not the case. Federalism is a political system implemented in many countries so why not implement it in Syria?

- Syria is not open to the experiences of others. I want to limit our conversation to the Syrian case. There is a wave of rejection of this project, so how will you go ahead with it?

The federalism we want to implement is an intellectual and political project that can be implemented like any other project especially after the failure of the ‘false’ citizenship project which we were previously subject to. The idea citizenship project claiming that we were “one people and one thought” failed after the testing of the Syrian crisis. A political and intellectual bomb fell, and each movement went to its sect and group.

- You say that you were shocked by the lying slogans of citizenship but what if you confront the lie of federalism as well?

I will stop at that knowledge and admit my mistake and that I reached a dead end.

- Do you think this is the right time to experiment with the Syrian people?

Of course, there is blood in experiments. At least in the experiment of the Autonomous Administration, there is no blood, there is one accusation against the Kurds that they are not clashing with the regime? And I say of them, no to weapons. No to destroying state institutions, and we are with the regime in all its symbols falling, but the method of toppling the regime by arming and then by Islamization was fatal, and it led to the deterioration.

- But the People’s Protection Units carry American weapons, how is that ‘no to arming’?

True but these weapons are not directed to the Syrian interior but towards the extremists at their helm the Islamic State forces.

- So then you also refuse to raise arms against the regime?

The principle of the issue is not raising arms against the regime, it must be brought down using peaceful means, and the regime pushed people to arm to say to the international community they are terrorists. The regime dragged the Syrian people to a place where it was superior to the revolution.

- What is the Democratic Union Party’s relationship with the regime?

They are in a position of neutrality with the regime and have no relationship with the regime and regarding what is said about coordination between the regime and the People’s Protection Units, let me say that Jaish al-Islam and the regime are coordinating in Jobar, and there are complicated details of the Syrian situation. But coordination for the management of particular things is happening. Let me tell you that the security coordination of the security zone in al-Hasakah has positive ramifications on people as it maintains the state institutions, but we want the tyrannical regime to fall.

- Why did you leave the Coordination Committee?

In truth, the Coordination Committee was not united in light of the regional and internal struggles and these struggles reflected on it, and this pushed me to leave the Coordination Committee, and I went to Turkey and then to Vienna. I want to say that the Coordination Committee is searching for a position everywhere, it is present in the Moscow Platform, the Cairo Platform, and the Riyadh group, etc.

It has achieved nothing from this presence in more than one place in addition to many members leaving the Committee, so the question then is where is the Coordination Committee and where does it stand?

- You perform the same role, you moved from the Coordination Committee to the Cordoba Working Group, and now you are the co-leader of the Syrian Democratic Council.

I am a person searching for a position in work that has direction, but the Coordination Committee was a big entity, and where is it now?

It is subordinate to the Riyadh committee, and so it has no direction.

- Do you see that the idea of federalism can be implemented in Deir Ez Zor?

Of course, the idea of federalism is a unifying idea which does not cancel the centrality of government, and it is detailed in the last paper of the Syrian Democratic Council. Deir Ez Zor as a province did not receive much attention from the regime government, and even universities were established in the last period. It was deprived for all the years before.

- But is the society in Deir Ez Zor ready to accept the idea of federalism?

All Syrians are not absorbing this idea because of the Baathist education in addition to the tradition tribal mentality, so we must promote the idea among people.

- Are there political and military forces supporting this project in Deir Ez Zor?

In truth, we do not have such a force, and until now we are not active. But in my opinion, the successes we are achieving in Raqqa now will reflect on Deir Ez Zor especially as the Syria Democratic Forces will only stay one hour in Raqqa before handing it over to the people of Raqqa.
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