ASIA/SIRIA - Kurdish "autonomist" offensive in Hassaké. Archbishop Hindo: they feel protected by Americans

Friday, 14 July 2017 oriental churches   middle east   geopolitics   kurds   nationalisms

Hassaké (Agenzia Fides) - The militants and militiamen of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PKY), Syrian branch of Karkeren Kurdistan Party (PKK), have begun to realize in facts their intent of creating an autonomous Kurdish region in the Syrian region of Jazira, which in the Kurdish media is already indicated with the Kurdish name of Rojava. In the northeastern Syrian province of Hassaké, the self-proclaimed autonomous administration of Rojava has begun implementing a local tax system to subsidize the region's public services. According to those responsible of the project, taxes will be used to support local health and education services, to improve the security system and also to affirm more strongly women's rights in institutions and social life. The tax program provides for taxes for all citizens who have a monthly income of more than or equal to 100,000 Syrian lira (about $ 200), and therefore about 75 percent of the local population. "In addition to trying to impose this new tax system", refers Catholic Syrian Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo to Agenzia Fides - those of the PYD have also confiscated and closed the schools. Half of them have been turned into barracks, and in the others they said they want to introduce new school programs, which will be done in Kurdish. Earlier, they also tried to expropriate land belonging to our Church, but they returned it after I sent letters of complaint to both the nunciature and some of their leaders". According to Archbishop Hindo, who heads the Syro Catholic Archeparchy of Hassaké-Nisibi, even the region of Jazira is also involved in the delicate and complicated geopolitical game that is being played across the region, and which also revolves around the 'Kurdish question': "Kurdish militants of the PYD" reports to Fides Archbishop Hindo "feel strong because they believe they have the support of the US. I warned them: look, Americans will leave sooner or later, and you will find yourself worse than before. These militants are linked to the PKK, which operates in Turkey, and say they only aspire to greater local autonomy, without pursuing independence. They are also enemies of the Kurds of Masud Barzani, who in Iraq are marching towards the referendum to proclaim the full independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. Here, the project of a self-sustained PYD administration seems to go ahead because they have the weapons, but in reality it does not even have the consensus of other Kurds. Much less on the part of Muslim tribes and us Christians. And I do not think it will ever be accepted by the government of Damascus". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 14/7/2017)