Saleh Moslem speaks to ANF about Assad’s comments and Sochi

Saleh Moslem spoke about Assad’s comments targeting Kurds and said: “They aim to prevent the Kurdish-Arab alliance by influencing Arabs in the federation over comments of ‘Kurds are betraying their country by their alliance with the US’.”

TEV-DEM Diplomacy Committee Member Saleh Moslem pointed out that Syrian regime President Bashar Assad’s comments accusing Kurds of treason are a result of the anti-Kurdish policies that have been revived among Iran, Turkey and Syria. Moslem said the true goal of the “secret alliance to accuse Kurds of treason and terrorism” is to isolate Kurds in the political and diplomatic arenas.

Moslem called the “Arab clan leaders meeting” announced to convene on December 25 in Hatay “an attempt to create new tools for Turkey to implement anti-Kurdish politics after the defeat of ISIS”. Moslem said: “Even if they convene in Hatay, their brothers and cousins act with us here. These efforts won’t create results but the Turkish state wants to create the perception that they brought Arabs together through tools of psychological war.”

Saleh Moslem’s answers to ANF’s questions on the latest developments in Syria are as follows:

Bashar Assad has accused Kurds of “treason”. What will this statement lead to?

This statement expresses a new approach. It shows Syria’s position. After the defeat of ISIS and the success of the fight against terror, a new period has started in Syria. The weight of this new process will be in the future of Northern Syria. Developments in the political and diplomatic areas will accelerate. Of course everybody has their plans. Assad’s statement is part of the policies to slander Kurds. Statements like this are geared towards the Arab community. Through claims that “Kurds betray their country with an alliance with the US”, they aim to influence the Arabs in the federation and prevent an Arab-Kurdish alliance. These statements are made as part of a plan. Undoubtedly the Turkish state and Iran want this too. Because the democratic system built in Northern Syria is not compatible with the interests of these three states.


On the other hand, they see that they can’t trick Kurds or engage with them as they wish like in the past. Neither Syria, nor Iran, nor Turkey want the Free Kurd. They are used to having the Kurds be their soldiers. But the new situation is the complete opposite. Kurds are the leader of a democratic system. The Kurd-Arab alliance expands every day. In the new system, there is a perspective that speaks to the whole region. The goal of the attacks is to prevent such developments, and to isolate Kurds in the political and diplomatic arenas.

If the regime is convinced, they will want to fight as well, but they are so weak in the military sense that they can’t make that decision on their own, neither can they attack our areas. If they want to continue their attacks in the military sense, they can do that through Iran’s support. It is Iran’s policy to declare the US and those who act with the US as the enemy. Also, Assad’s comments should be considered in relation to Turkey’s anti-Kurdish policies. This is the result of a secret alliance built on accusing Kurds of treason and terrorism.

You say Assad’s comments are geared towards breaking the Kurd-Arab alliance apart. Just as Assad makes such comments, preparations for an Arab clan leaders meeting in Hatay are underway. The goal of the meeting is expressed as putting the decision to “form an army to fight against the US, YPG and the regime” to practice. What is behind the Hatay meeting?

The Turkish state is looking to create new tools to implement their anti-Kurdish policies after the defeat of ISIS. ISIS was a tool the Turkish state used for their goals. When they were exposed in the international arena for their relationship with ISIS terrorism, they couldn’t continue this relationship any longer. Erdoğan has had attempts to create tensions between Kurds and Arabs for a long time. They don’t have a political party or a modern organization to gather all Arabs under. They continue to circle around clans.


Within the Arab clans, there is a new situation now that isn’t dwelled upon a lot. There are no longer clans gathered around a leader. There are a couple of people who have weight in each clan. There are those who act with us, and those who collaborate with the regime and Erdoğan in the same clan. Erdoğan is now trying to gather some people around him through money and material resources to use against us. Qatar is also behind this project. This project did not take, because those are the people who abandoned the war and fled. They fled because they are weak. They can’t form a unity even among themselves, let alone forming an army. We have no concerns in this area.

Even if they gather in Hatay, their brothers and cousins act together with us here. Efforts of this manner won’t achieve results, but the Turkish state wants to create the perception that they have brought Arabs together through tools of psychological warfare. That is what they attempted to do in the invasion process they called Euphrates Shield as well. Who are in this Euphrates Shield? Those who haven’t benefited their people or their country. They wear Turkish army clothes, they became Turkish soldiers. If they are to clad the clan leaders in their own clothes and send them to Syria in Hatay, that is another matter. But I don’t believe the clans will get together and fight us.

There are readings that Turkey will organize the remnants of ISIS and send them back to Syria under the guise of Arab clans.

They will if they can. ISIS had two groups, one was those who were directly within the Turkish army and police and provided ISIS with financial and logistical resources, these people did participate in conflicts occasionally, and the second was the group gathered from various countries and made to fight. Up to now, those who fought us have been those outside of the Turkish army and police, these have been defeated. The Turkish state can only gather the soldiers and police they clad in ISIS clothing under a new and different name again. Nothing else will come out of the meetings in Istanbul, Urfa and Hatay.


The “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” is on the agenda. You as the TEV-DEM had been invited. There are claims that the Turkish state and Russia have agreed on 25 names. Do you have a list that was presented to you?

The Sochi meeting is actually gathering to find a solution to the Kurdish issue. That is why it is imperative that the Kurds are present in the meeting. The administrative system for Syria will be discussed. The weight is on how the constitution should be. The constitution should be made again, it should be a document that isn’t centralist and that recognizes federalism. Committees will be formed for the writing of the constitution, representatives from all ethic and faith groups should be part of these committees.

A Russian committee had come before. They met with all groups in the Democratic Syrian Federation, Kurds, Arabs and Syriacs, and there were invitations. They said 140 people were to participate in the meeting. The delegation will be participating in the name of he Northern Syrian Democratic Federation. Even though the invitations are made out to individuals, the participants will be there to voice the demands of the Federation. I don’t know if Turkey, Iran and Russia reached an agreement on this matter in Astana. But if they leave the Kurds and the representatives of the Federation out of Sochi, that will mean that they don’t want a solution. The Russians don’t want Sochi to result in a failure. Because they are the ones that want a new constitution in Syria.

The Turkish state and several other circles are trying to prevent the meeting from taking place because the solution to the Kurdish issue is on the agenda. If there is an initiative towards a solution, we should be part of it. How we will participate is another question, but there needs to be a will present there to represent Northern Syria. The Federation’s demands should be voiced in the commissions for the writing of the constitution and be discussed. On the other hand, our position has not changed, we haven’t been notified of anything new.


In Geneva and other meetings, leaving the Kurds out of the process hasn’t produced any results. If Kurds participate in meetings like Geneva, the system here will gain legitimacy. Turkey and the regime are trying to prevent that from the beginning. As far as we have seen, the Turkish state is under great pressure in international meetings for their policies against us. Saudi Arabia and other states said they don’t have objections to our participation in Geneva and that they aren’t the ones causing the obstacle. According to information we have, the US and France are trying to find a solution so representatives from the Northern Syrian Federation can participate in international meetings, which the Turkish state won’t object to. Erdoğan’s position is an obstacle. Many things changed in the Geneva 8 meeting. Groups allied to Turkey and Qatar have been dissolved. Right now, those in meetings in the name of the Syrian opposition are groups allied to Saudi Arabia and the gulf countries.


But I must say this, our position is very strong, and we have a strong project and proposals. There are no parties with a stronger hand than us to solve the Syrian crisis. The recognition of the Northern Syrian Federation is dependent on a political solution to be developed in Syria. Because we are a part of Syria.


Another state that wants to be at the table where Syria’s future will be determined is Iran. What does Iran want to do in Syria?

Iran wants to form a new Shia empire like the Safavids. Their conflict with Israel and all policies they implement for the expansion of the religion are all geared towards this goal. With this policy they created unity within Iran and defended themselves up to date. If Iran gives up this policy, there might be chaos there. Anti-Iranian politics are gaining traction in the Middle East. Iran’s activity in Lebanon, Iraq and other areas poses a threat for Israel. Hezbollah is now running Lebanon, and that rubs many groups the wrong way. Iran doesn’t want the regime to fall in Syria. Even though Alevis are not Shia, they support Assad and want to keep him standing.

It seems that Iran has gathered animosity from all parties, the US, the EU, Israel and Arab states. The Arab states fear chaos in their own countries. In many gulf countries, from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait to others, there are both Sunni and Shia populations. Iran’s foreign policy creates a big problem for gulf states. Iran’s support for Qatar has been exposed. For all these reasons, Iran needs to be pushed back. Another characteristic of the war to happen in the coming period is this. Iran wants to keep the war outside its borders and have it play out in countries like Syria, Lebanon and Yemen but in the future, conflict with Saudi Arabia or any gulf state could drag the war into Iran.


How will it reflect on Northern Syria if the war turns towards Iran?

As Rojava, there is nothing that necessitates we come up against each other with Iran. The reason for Iran’s policies that go against the gains here is their own anti-democratic system. The forming of the federation here will turn the Kurds into a power. There are various ethnic groups in Iran like Kurds, Azeris, Syriacs and Arabs. They fear that the federation might be a democratic administration model for the peoples of Iran.

The Kurdish people in Iran have supported the Rojava revolution from the beginning. And they gathered experience from the developments here. Tomorrow if the Kurds in Iran fight for their national rights, we must support them. Iran is afraid of the Kurdish issue and the model that has developed in Northern Syria, that is why they act in animosity against us. There are scenarios that the Hashd al-Shaabi and army of Jerusalem forces allied to Iran will fight against us in the name of the Syrian regime, but I don’t think such a thing is possible. Because our forces are not to be taken lightly, it won’t be easy to make them surrender. There is nobody who could fight against us within the regime. If Iran attacks us, they will lose.