Muslim: The Syrian issue can't be resolved without free Syrians

PYD Co-Chair Salih Muslim said, “Only Syrians can resolve the Syrian issue. They need to be free in order to do so. Let's do whatever it takes to live together.”

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Chair Salih Muslim said that while Russia's effort for a "forced marriage" between Ankara and Damascus continues, the Turkish intelligence service, MIT, recruits "useless Syrians" in Urfa. He remarked that these steps would create further destruction in Syria and yield no results.

Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-Chair Salih Muslim answered ANF's questions concerning the recent rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus and the meeting held in Urfa with Syrian tribes.

The talks between Damascus and Ankara are considerably debated. How do you evaluate these meetings and discussions? Is it possible to go back to the pre-2011 period?

We have said from the beginning that this is like a forced marriage. There are huge problems between the two sides due to recent events, betrayals and enmity. You can't solve them overnight. It will certainly require a long time. They think that it would be beneficial to reconcile Erdogan with Assad for the sake of Russia's needs and Turkey's elections. But it does not work. This is wrong.

On the contrary, it may lead to very opposite results. We saw it at the very beginning. We saw how Turkish-controlled groups reacted. This is a complicated situation. The Syrian people cannot forget this. Before 2010, Erdogan was very close to Bashar Assad. Everyone remembers what Erdogan said in 2011. Everyone is familiar with what went on between them. Half a million people died in Syria. Turkey is as guilty as the Syrian regime. It brought in all those mercenary groups. It created ISIS to destroy the Kurds.  It used and still uses ISIS as blackmail both inside and outside the country.


The Russians were the first to reveal it. Everyone knows how Putin talked, acted and revealed their relationship after Turkey shot down a Russian plane in 2015. Despite all these contradictions, it is not possible to bring these two people together and cover up the process. This is what we call forced marriage. We have already started to hear cracks.

Yasin Aktay, an advisor to the AKP Chair, recently said that “It is absolutely necessary to capture Aleppo for these talks to be carried out.” On the one hand, Turkey talks about bringing Erdogan-Assad together, and on the other hand, it seeks to control Aleppo and settle down immigrants there. Europe, America and international powers are all aware of Turkey's relations with ISIS.

We saw this in the attacks on November 19-20. Along with the infrastructure in Northeast Syria, Turkey targeted the places where ISIS members are held. Attacking the camps and trying to free ISIS prisoners shocked the whole world. Everyone sees what’s going on. 8 of our friends were martyred in Hol. Turkey attacked the forces fighting ISIS terrorism in a place where the International Coalition base is located. Two of our friends were martyred there. It's the same in other places. Turkey attacked a prison, obviously to release ISIS members. The whole world stood against it.

What role does Russia play in these talks?

Putin is dominating both sides. Erdogan is already in Putin's hands; he has to do whatever Putin wants. They may even oppose NATO. Here, the sanctions against Russia were not applied against Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO. Turkey has to implement NATO’s decisions, but it does not. Now, I heard that Çavuşoğlu is going to Washington on January 16. He goes to Washington before meeting with the Syrian Foreign Minister; they will discuss there and pull his ears.

It is the Americans who objected to talks with the regime most. They say they are ‘against this normalization'. They didn't say it openly, but they implied it. This is complete neglect of UN resolution 2254, on which the international forces there rely. It is Turkey that has prevented a solution in Syria so far. Now, it believes that it can get rid of it through a rapprochement with Syria. I don't think that it will work. It will create a new crisis.

How do the discussions on elections in Turkey affect the current situation?

The election process in Turkey confuses everything. When the first talk of elections took place two years ago, we said that it would be the first time a dictator would lose power through an ordinary election.

If the government agreed on a truly democratic election and if this happened to lead to the elimination of the dictatorship and despotism, it would not allow it. It would do anything to prevent it, whether martial law or a war. Just anything. We saw it in the Istanbul/Taksim conspiracy.

Could Erdogan organize further attacks to achieve victory in the elections?

He could organize another attack based on various excuses. No one can really predict it. He could destroy the whole world just to win the elections. The discussions within have already escalated. The next 4-5 months are very important. Unexpected things could happen. Turkey has a despotic regime. A man who thinks he is a sultan could also create a very complicated situation. The peoples of Turkey will suffer from this the most. Those outside the country like us could also be affected. As I said, I do not think that the Syria-Turkey issue will reach a conclusion with this fascist mentality and pragmatic stance.

At a time of discussions about a possible attack against North and East Syria, it was reported that a few days ago, Turkey’s MIT held a meeting with some Syrian tribes in Urfa city. Do you have any information on the subject?

Some groups are being gathered together there. They are not tribes but rather people who will benefit from these situations. They never represent tribes. They are just some opportunistic pragmatists. They are there to take advantage of the blood of the peoples and to play tricks on Erdogan. This has been going on for 4-5 years. Their purpose is to cause a conflict in the region.

The tribes there are part of the established system, they are its partners. They take part both in government and in war. We've seen this practically for 10 years. It makes no sense to gather a few castaway people there. This is not their first effort either. It's more about false pretences. They are people who have been cut off from the tribes there. It will not yield any results. We've seen it for the past 5-6 years. It hasn't worked so far, and it won't in the future. Some Arabs and some personalities in Urfa may be tricked by Turkey the most. This is the work of MIT (Turkish intelligence service). I don't think that it will achieve results, because they are not on the field. Nobody would listen to them. Everyone knows how some groups were sold out. Many regretted it. I think that the rest are useless. I think that it was a meeting of useless people.

Will the attempts to constantly seek a solution outside Syria lead to a conclusion?

Only Syrians can resolve the Syrian issue. For the Syrians to resolve it, the people need to be free. They should have their own will and not take instructions from others. What are the forces like Turkey in Syria doing? They are deceiving some Syrians and make them clash with each other. In which way were half a million people killed? Some by the regime, some by the groups, some by Turkey's directives. Therefore, the Syrian issue can't be resolved without free Syrians. We keep saying that let's do whatever it takes to live together. Let's do whatever we need, let's do it together, not on the orders of Erdogan, Bashar Assad, America and Russia.

As the PYD and the Autonomous Administration, we make our decisions and we have never followed anyone's directives whatsoever. We do whatever is necessary, but we could not find strong-willed people before us. Let's come together and think for our country. Let's do whatever is necessary, correct if there are mistakes.

It is obvious what the regime in power since 1963 has brought about. We need new practices. Let's sit down and talk together. Let's think and decide together what the administration in Damascus is supposed to do.


Peoples all over Syria, the Kurds, the Arabs and the Assyrians will all be partners in a political decision to be made. Otherwise, it will backfire. Let's do whatever it takes in a peaceful way instead of fighting. This requires free will and free ideas. Yet, we've not seen this so far.

The current process is very ambiguous for the Syrians. We don't know what will happen. We can obtain a result in a short time if we are free and take care of the whole Syrian people and ourselves. Otherwise, it would take a long time if we relied on foreign forces. We would all lose.