The Kurdish city of Afrin. Photo: dimoqrati.info
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - Leaders of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) announced an interim government on Tuesday for the Kurdish areas of Syria, the group’s official website reported.
Kurdish, Arab and Christian leaders made the announcement in Qamishli after hours of discussions.
“We worked on the Democratic Union Party’s (PYD) project that makes Rojava into three autonomous areas of Afrin, Kobane and Jazira,” Hakam Khalo, a member of the interim government told Hawar News.
According to Khalo, each area will have its own assembly and will have representatives in the interim government. He added that there are 61 representatives from the Kurdish, Arab, Christian and other smaller minorities in the new de facto government.
Members of a committee assigned to write a transitional constitution for Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) were quick to react to this announcement. Fuad Aliko, a member of the committee, told Rudaw that the attempt was unilateral and not discussed with the Kurdish National Council (KNC).
“The KNC was surprised by the decision to declare an interim government in Rojava,” he said.
According to Aliko, all Kurdish parties had agreed earlier to make such a decision together.
The PYD has run Rojava since Syrian forces withdrew from the area last year. Earlier attempts at an autonomous region were browbeaten by neighboring Turkey.
PYD’s armed wing known as the People Defense Units (YPG) has been fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated radical groups throughout the year.
An autonomous region under their control would mean they will have less tolerance for attacks from jihadists or members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The interim government gives a great degree of independence to each area to run local affairs and allows official representatives in the government.
“The main function of the regional assemblies is to design a regional election law, prepare for elections, but also to debate political, security and economic issues,” Khalo noted.
He said an executive body for the Transitional Administration has been established, composed of 13 members with nine representatives from Jazira and two each from Kobane and Afrin.
In recent months, Kurds have gained control of more areas, particularly after YPG fighters drove out other rebels from northeastern Syria, most notably the strategic border town of Tel Kocer.
Also on Tuesday, the mainstream Syrian opposition announced its own interim government at the end of a three-day meeting in Istanbul.
The interim government is headed by Ahmad Tomeh and has 12 ministers, among them Ibrahim Miro, a Kurd.
“Ibrahim Miro is a well-known person, he was elected unanimously as the minister of finance,” Tomeh said.
He told Rudaw that the interim government is for all Syrian people and that “it will function in all areas of the country that are under opposition control, including the Kurdish areas.”
So far the PYD has not responded to Tomeh’s words, to say whether they will accept this Arab-dominated government in their areas.
For his part Tomeh said he would talk with the KNC and PYD on cooperation in the Kurdish areas.
According to Tomeh, Saudi Arabia has pledged $300 million to the interim government and the German government will give them $600 million of frozen Syrian money in German banks.