Will There Be Room for Kurds and Other Minorities in a Post-Assad Syria?

by Jerry Gordon (June 2012)

caused over 100 deaths in what the UN observers called a massacre. According to a press report:

Britain and the United States condemned the Houla massacre, along with Israel, in a rare public statement on the 14-month-old Syrian conflict.

reported that the US hopes that Russia, one of the Assad regime’s allies, along with the Islamic Republic of Iran and China, might offer some assistance to facilitate Assad leaving the embattled regime in Damascus. Prof. Eyal Zisser of the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University in a recent Israel Hayom article, “The Road to Damascus Runs Through Moscow,” noted the transition proposal of the Obama Administration:

Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KURDNAS) leader Sherkoh Abbas. He has joined with US Syrian Sunni reformer Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser to advance this cause via the Syrian Democratic Coalition.

Abbas’ own history is reflective of the vicissitudes that have afflicted the estimated 45 million Kurds in landlocked Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq over the course of the 20th and 21st Centuries. He left his home community of Qamishi, Syria in the 1980’s for the US. This followed his criticism of the dictatorial Baathist regime of Hafez al- Assad, a former Air Force officer who led a coup in the late 1950’s and remained in power for more than four decades. Hafez al-Assad set the brutal precedent for his son, Bashar, in a bloody repression 1982. That resulted in the massacre of upwards of 25,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the Syrian city of Hama and equal numbers of other civilians who got caught in the middle of the conflict. The Assad family created “an Islamo Mafia state triumphant.”

during meetings in Ankara in April 2012. Barzani entreated the PKK (Turkish Kurdish Workers Party), whose leader Abdullah Ocalan is imprisoned there, to stop their armed rebellion against the AKP regime. The Hafez al- Assad regime had given Ocalan sanctuary to fight Turkey. He was eventually captured in Kenya and deported to Ankara in 1999 for trial which resulted in a death sentence, commuted to life imprisonment. Like his father before him, Bashar Assad has recently brought back PKK operatives into the Syrian Kurdish heartland, which is viewed as divisive by KURDNAS leaders. 

have fled  to safe havens in refugee camps in the KRG given the turmoil back home. 

major universities to serve as a future ally in a post-revolutionary Syria. There is a vibrant Kurdish Jewish community of more than 150,000 in Israel. One member of that community Yitzhak Mordechai who served as a Minister of Defense. There have been visits to the Iraqi KRG by members of the Israeli Kurdish community.

with public remarks earlier this year.

The Muslim Brotherhood, with the support of President Obama and Turkey, will not succeed in controlling all of Syria. The Alawis and Hezbollah backed by Iran, Russia and China, will not give up power easily.

Asked what the US role might be in the current struggle, Abbas asserted:

The US has a moral responsibility to insure freedom and democracy for all Syrians. .. an Arab nationalist or Islamist regime would lead to more violence and civil war.

Against this background we held an interview with KURDNAS and its President, Sherkoh Abbas.

adverse effects on the mental health of the people.

Regime repression and suppression of freedoms coupled with looting of wealth, Arabization, and starvation, resulted in a Kurdish popular uprising. This uprising began in the northeastern Kurdish region and spread to major cities like Aleppo and Damascus. The results were torture, killings and destruction, as the Assad regime is doing now to the Syrian people.

What Would a Post Assad Syria Look Like?”  Do you concur with his assessment and what would the Syrian Kurdistan National Assembly support?

To comment on this interview, please click here.


If you have enjoyed this article and want to read more by Jerry Gordon, please click here.

Jerry Gordon is a also regular contributor to our community blog. To read his entries, please click here.