The members of the European Parliament’s Kurdish Friendship Group paid a week-long visit to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), starting on 31 October, to see the conditions there and show solidarity with the Kurdish people.
The co-chairs of the European Parliament’s Kurdish Friendship Group, Francois Alfonsi and Andreas Schieder, acknowledged the Turkish invasion of some territories of the AANES and called out for international support.
“We found here not only nice people but also very complicated circumstances. We think there are a lot of unfriendly states around so what the Kurdish people also need is more friends in Europe” Austrian Social Democrats’ bloc representative Schieder said to Medya News.
Alfonsi, a European Free Alliance (EFA) MEP from France, who also spoke to Media News in Erbil (Hewler), said that this is his first visit to North and East Syria but he is aware of the difficult conditions of Kurdish people here due to the aggressiveness of Turkey and Iran, and also in Iraqi Kurdistan. “But they have great courage to face these difficult situations with values which are the values of the future for the Middle East,” he said. “We don’t think the Middle East can have a future in a dictatorship; only democracy could build a peaceful area.”
“And I think the Kurdish people are in the centre of this [democracy] project because they are already in a situation promoting democracy, rights of women and protection of minorities and they are making the proof, as they are governing and fighting against the dictatorship, that they can build a democratic project for the countries and for all the zones they’re living,” he added.
Alfonsi noted that it was interesting to see how the organisation in AANES is built against the difficulties. “The problem is to find support to be able to stop the attacks of Turkey on Rojava,” he said, calling on Europe to take action.
“Europe is the most powerful entity in the neighbourhood of the Middle East,” Alfonsi said. “We can put pressure on Turkey. We can have sanctions against Iran, Turkey and all the oppressors. And we can change the situation.”
Alfonsi said that as MEPs, they would bring the Kurdish struggle in Syria to the attention of the European Parliament in Brussels. After the visit, the deputies will also hold a press release in Brussels where they will share their observations.
Calling for European solidarity, Alfonsi tweeted during his visit: “Kurdish people continue their fight for freedom. After defeating Islamist terrorism, they must fight that of Erdoğan.”
Avec Bedram Ciya Kurd resp. affaires étrangères Rojava qui a reçu délégation du Friendship Kurde du Parlmt Européen @SCHIEDER : peuple kurde continue son combat pour la liberté. Après avoir vaincu le terrorisme islamiste, il doit combattre celui d’Erdogan. Solidarité européenne ! pic.twitter.com/HFiCNnRazg
— François Alfonsi (@F_Alfonsi) October 31, 2022
Kongra Star, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) base in Al-Hasakah (Hesekê), the city hall of Qamishlo and the University of Kurdistan were points of the visit, as well as meeting with AANES deputy co-chair Bedran Çiya Kurd and other AANES ministers.
Alfonsi’s assistant Bruno Le Clainche, whose brother Olivier Francois Le Clainche died fighting against ISIS in Afrin in February 2018, was a member of the delegation with the MEPs.