‘KNC leaders fought against YPG alongside Al Nusra Front and FSA’

Fadil Muhammad Salim, a founder and member of the Syrian National Council, (c) ANF

A founder and former member of the Syrian National Council (SNC) has claimed that leaders of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) fought alongside Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamist Al Nusra Front militants against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

In an interview with Kurdish News Agency ANF, Fadil Muhammad Salim, who was responsible for the group’s media operations until 2013, said the KNC had fought against the YPG in the battle of Serekaniye in late 2012 and early 2013.

The former politician also said he was given diplomacy training by the US in Italy and that the US knew as early as 2013 that the Bashar al-Assad government was not going to fall.

“When we were in training, the word was that the regime had one month left to go. After we completed the training successfully, we demanded from the US, the EU, Qatar and Saudi Arabia that the regime be removed,” he said, adding, “We told them we were capable of filling the void. Then US Ambassador Ford said the regime would not fall at that time. He said there was no alternative for the regime and its void wouldn’t be filled, so that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.”

Salim claimed that he was told to either stay as a political refugee or return to Syria.

“I made suggestions for Amuda, Darbasiyah or Shaddadi. The FSA, Al-Nusra and ISIS (Islamic State) held those areas at the time. Our friends in the so called Kurdish group [Kurdish National Council] advised me not to go to areas where PYD was present. I wanted to return to Amuda but they told me PYD would either kill me or hand me over to the regime,” Salim told ANF.

The former lawyer then travelled to Shaddadi, which was held by Islamist groups, and was captured by IS.

“They told me to either work with them or be shot. I worked with them. They made me work mostly on property law, because I’m a lawyer. There were 1200 backlogged cases,” he added, saying that he had escaped after the area had been taken by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.

The former politician spoke about Turkey’s relations with the Kurdish National Council (KNC), which opposes the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in Syria’s north and is part of the SNC.

“Turkey always pointed to the border with the Kurds. They didn’t want the Kurds to build a will and have power in these regions. In all statements, they said the Kurds wanted to found a state, and Syria would be fragmented. Their fear was great.”

Salim also said that Turkey presented the leaders of the KNC, names such as Fouad Aliko and Ibrahim Biro, as the only representatives of the Kurds and told them not to legitimise the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) by recognising the administration.

“They calculated that through such measures they would get 80 percent of the Kurdish vote in elections in cities like Qamishlo and Hasakah, and PYD would be at 20 percent. Their fundamental demand was to be seen and treated as the representative of the Kurds.”

The SNC founder also claimed that groups affiliated to the KNC had fought against the YPG in Serekaniye (Ras al-Ayn), alongside the Free Syrian Army and Al Nusra Front.

“Ambulance, vehicles, logistical and ammunition support was provided by the Turkish state. They crossed over to Turkey by the border gate and acquired the ammunition they needed to fight the YPG. I was also at the Serekaniye border gate at the time, but didn’t cross over to Turkey. I witnessed the aid given to the FSA with my own eyes.

“There were armed Kurdish groups who fought against the YPG in Serekaniye as well. These groups presented their demands to the Hasakah province assembly. The Kurdish group in the Council tried to accommodate demands by these these armed groups.

“There were some famous names in these groups, like Fouad Aliko, Abdulhakim Bashar, Ibrahim Biro and Abdulhemin Haci Darwish. These people answered directly to Barzani. They made the decisions for the Kurds in Turkey, namely Istanbul. They carried out a relentless slander policy against the PYD and they cultivated enmity,” he claimed.