This interview was conducted by Ömer Özkizilcik
First of all, can you please introduce yourself?
Nebih Musa Taha Abu Salih. I am a farmer who was graduated from high school. I am of Kurdish origin, one of the Aleppo Kurds. I am from the Kurdish Didi tribe in the Azaz region. I am the head of the tribe. Our tribe consists of around 40-45 thousand people. I am also presiding the Community for Syrian Kurdish tribes encompassing all the Kurdish people around Syria. Besides, I am the founding chairman of the Independent Kurdish Council.
What is the Independent Kurdish Council?
It was founded on the first day of 2020. We established this council at the request of the Kurdish people. Our council is located only in liberated areas. When we looked at other people living in the liberated regions, we felt the need to establish this Independent Kurdish Council with the belief that the Kurdish people did not receive the same services and facilities. In general, organizations and NGOs that have been established for Kurds until now, only exploit the Kurdish people. Numerous Kurdish formations did not benefit the Kurdish people for nine years because they were close to the Syrian regime. Such organizations and parties only enforce the agendas of the states that support them. They have no ties to the Kurdish people. Based on this, we have established this council in line with their wishes by believing that this Independent Kurdish Council is necessary. We also wanted to send the following message to the World: Most of the Kurds are not PKK sympathizers. PKK cannot solely represent the Kurds. We are here too. Kurds are patriots as well. We are a formation that defends and protects the interests of the Syrian Kurds. Of course, our first and foremost goal is to fight against those who claim to represent Kurds such as PKK, YPG or SDG. They survive under the cover of SDG. We are fighting against such parties. In this way, we are fighting against them and our fight against all kinds of separatists like them will continue. We fought during the liberation of Afrin. Now we have our military group and this military group is one of the components of SNA. Now we have a very strong bond with our brothers in Turkey. We have an office where we are constantly in contact with our Turkish brothers. Especially, during the liberation of Afrin, Olive Branch Operation and Peace Spring Operation, our Turkish brothers offered us very special opportunities. Together with our Turkish brothers, we gave martyrs in our lands. The blood of our martyrs is now mixed. I herewith would like to address all PKK and separatist terrorist organizations: We have a very important and unbreakable bond with our Turkish brothers. We share this with everyone here that the PKK is a terrorist organization. We must fight against them. As patriotic Kurds, we have to fight against the PKK. We want to emphasize that we consider Turkey’s enemy is our enemy. Our common point is that the PKK is a terrorist organization. Turkey is in a good relationship with us. Either the state or the government.
Where are the independent Kurdish Parliament locations, how many people are there and the Kurdish military structure you are talking about is the Kurdish Hawks Brigade under the Hamza Division?
Yes, the Kurdish Hawks Brigade under Firka Hamza. The founding members of the council are 41 people. All of them are Kurds with high education levels. We will have a congress sometime soon with the founding members and the management team. We expect that thousands are going to attend the congress. Our council is constantly developing. The number I gave is the founding commission required for the establishment of the council. Insha’Allah we will declare to the whole world in the following congress that we are brothers with all the people here including Arabs, Turkmen, and all ethnicities. PKK’s current ideology continuously demonstrates Arab and Turkish people as enemies to Kurds. In this congress, we will declare that we are brothers and we will give the message of brotherhood. The PKK constantly sows seeds of hatred and hostility among our societies. There are some formations and parties close to the PKK, and they express similar views and opinions. The PKK always carries the same thoughts and ideology regardless of time and location, it tries to plant hatred and hostility seeds among our societies.
There are three flags on the emblem of the Independent Kurdish Council. It has the free Syrian flag, the Turkish flag, and the Kurdistan flag. Why did you make such a choice?
These flags represent our people. This symbolizes fraternity. It symbolizes the brotherhood of the Kurdish, Arab and Turkish people.
Is there any relationship with Barzani?
We are not related to any form and person, including Barzani. I want to go back to the previous topic. Flags represent nations. The flag of Kurdistan does not only represent one person. It represents the Kurdish people. This picture represents the brotherhood of the people living in the region.
What is their relationship with ENKS?
We have no relation with ENKS. We have no relationship with any party.
What are your thoughts on Barzani and ENKS?
We as Syrian Kurds can only represent us. Kurds from Iraq or anywhere else can’t represent the Syrian Kurdish people.
What are the goals of the Independent Kurdish Council? Do you plan to join the Syrian National Coalition?
Our first goal is the preservation of the unity of Syria. Our second goal is to ensure peaceful lives for all Syrians. We have no other demand than that the Syrian Kurdish people and the other societies in Syria should live in peace. We are not behind any political positions. Our only goal is to enable a peaceful life for everyone. Neither the Syrian National Coalition nor ENKS has succeeded in truly serving the Syrian people. We want to have a stance in light of the experience of our Turkish brothers.
How do you see the situation of the Kurds in Afrin?
Some individual crimes are being committed. However, we do not consider any of them to a certain group and see them as individual crimes. Individual crimes can’t be equated to anyone; neither to the Turks nor the Arab or the Turkmens. The responsibility of a crime does only belong to the individual committing it.
How many Kurds are living in Afrin and how many Kurds left the area?
More than half of the current population of Afrin is Kurds. We are connecting to the people who left their homes and went to the areas of the PKK. Whenever they decide to come back, the PKK is preventing them from doing so. They are using these people as a political bargain chip. They constantly propagate to the media that the Kurdish people are not allowed to return home, but in reality, it is they who are preventing the people. They are using these families as a political card and propaganda against Turkey.
Is there anything you want to add?
I want to underline this following message that I am very thankful for the Turkish state, its government and its people. I want to thank them for my person and for the council I am representing. We want to say to them that we are together. Our blood and the Turkish blood have been mixed on the Syrian soil. We have given martyrs for the safety and security of both nations. I want to declare my utmost respect for any Kurd, Arab, Turkmen and Turk who has become a martyr in the struggle for the freedom of Syria. The Kurdish, Arab and Turkish people want to be together.