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Kurdish National Council (KNC / ENKS)

The Kurdish National Council (KNC - Encûmena Nistimanî ya Kurdî li Sûriyê , ENKS) is a coalition of Syrian Kurdish parties not aligned with the PYD/YPG that includes about a dozen Syrian Kurdish parties. It is supported by Barzani's KDP and is a membr of the Syrian National Calition. The KNC rejected the legitimacy of PYD institutions on the ground.

They are seeking constitutional recognition, human rights initiatives, compensation for suffering, and participation in a nationwide democratic process. They promote the idea of a decentralized government, a decision to be made by Syrians through a referendum vote. And they want to drop the word "Arab" from the country's official name.

The Kurdish movement in Syria is more than 50 years old and has many parties, many ideologies. Of course, as a result, there might be differences in points of view. The Peoples' Democratic Party, or PYD, to which the Kurds fighting in Kobani belong, is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which Turkey and the US have designated a terrorist organization. The PKK in turn had ties to the Assad regime, the Iraqi Kurds had close relations with Turkey and the US and are affiliated with a different Syrian Kurdish faction, the Kurdish National Council, which backs the Syrian opposition and is at odds with the PYD over who should control the Kurdish regions of Syria.

In May 2012, the Department of State welcomed senior members of Syria’s Kurdish National Council to Washington, where they were hosted by Ambassadors Robert Ford and Frederic Hof. They also met with Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman as well as other U.S. officials. Discussion focused on the Syrian revolution and ways in which the Kurdish National Council – working alongside other Syrian opposition groups – can assist Syria’s transition to a democratic, pluralistic state that ends the discriminatory practices of the Asad regime, including against Syrian Kurds. The visit provided an opportunity to underscore the United States’ view that Kurds are a key part of Syria’s national fabric and of the popular uprising against Asad-Makhlouf family rule. Syrian Kurds, like all Syrians, should be entitled to all the rights and privileges of Syrian citizenship.

The United States welcomed decisions taken by the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s General Assembly in November 2013, including the inclusion of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) under its umbrella. This merger reflected a spirit of cooperation among all of Syria’s communities and the US looked forward to working closely with the KNC’s representatives in the Coalition.

Since the start of the civil war in 2011, Kurds have largely remained neutral in the fight between Assad’s regime and the opposition forces. The war against IS has barely touched this region — except for Kurdish fighters recruiting young people for battles in IS-dominated areas some 100 kilometers to the south. It is a far different scenario in other Kurdish-dominated cities, like Kobani and Efrin, that have been left in ruins in fighting among IS, Kurds, Syrian government forces and opposition rebels.

Ibrahim Biro, the head of the Kurdish National Council, a political group that opposes the PYD, said December 10, 2015 that “The regime is still strong here.” Biro said Kurdish factions must unite to keep the Syrian regime at bay. “Unity is the only way to protect Syrian Kurdistan,” he said.

The consolidation of the hold of the Kurdish faction known as the Democratic Union Party [PYD] on Kurdish-majority towns in northeastern Syria prompted a self-rule declaration on 12 November 2005, triggering a fierce condemnation by the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), who described the move as a separatist and hostile act. Not all Syrian Kurds were pleased by the self-rule declaration. About 16 groups affiliated with the Kurdish National Council rejected the PYD move.

The Kurdish National Cuncil [KNC] should not be confused with the Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNC), a non-profit organization representing Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan living in the United States and Canada. The KNC was founded in 1988, soon after Iraqi chemical weapons attacks on Halabja and other Kurdish cities and villages. Its objective is to unite Kurds living in North America to work for common goals, to promote the idea of a United Free Kurdistan, and to strengthen the voice of all Kurds living in the USA and Canada.

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Page last modified: 05-01-2018 18:52:45 ZULU