Kurdish leader arrives in Scotland as the battle against Daesh intensifies

Nathanael Williams

Campaigners in favour of a Kurdish homeland gather as Kurdish leader arrives in Scotland

SALIH MUSLIM, the co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) from Rojava in Kurdish Syria is visiting Scotland for the first time.

His visit follows fierce fighting between the PYD forces and the Daesh (so called Islamic State) terror group, and the severe increase in repression from the Turkish state against political opponents and Kurdish civilians.

Muslim will be at two talks hosted by the Edinburgh University Kurdish Society and Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan (SSK), today (Tuesday 13 December) and tomorrow (Wednesday 14 December) and is planning to meet with Scottish politicians and civil society leaders.

“The struggle to defeat ISIS and to build a democratic society has been an inspiration, not only to Kurds, but to people all over the world.” Stephen Smellie

Roza Salih, co-convenor of SSK, said: “Rojava has become famous for its determined fight against ISIS (Islamic State)/Daesh led by the People’s and Women’s Defence Units of the YPG and YPJ and the social revolution taking place there.

“However despite this it remains blockaded by Turkey and Iraq making it difficult for the people to rebuild towns like Kobane that were destroyed in the fight with ISIS/Daesh, to supply its health services and construct new schools.”

A crackdown since July has seen the Turkish Government arrest tens of thousands of dissidents, and escalate its ongoing brutality agains the Kurdish people.

Interview: Scottish trade unionists and activists return from Kurdish solidarity trip in Turkey

Salih Muslim was tortured and imprisoned under the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein and he recently lost his son fighting against Daesh. The PYD are among a myriad of parties fighting for Kurdish nationhood and autonomy and are lauded by many around the world for their commitment to secular and democratic politics.

Stephen Smellie, co-convenor for the SSK and a Unite spokesperson, added: “Whilst in Scotland, Mr Muslim will formally launch an appeal to raise funds to build a school in Kobane. This project, that has been put together by Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan (SSK) in partnership with people in Kobane, aims to raise enough money to enable a school to be built which would be known as the Scotland School.

“SSK is delighted to be welcoming Mr Muslim to Scotland. The struggle to defeat ISIS and to build a democratic society has been an inspiration, not only to Kurds, but to people all over the world.”

Unite union will host the a public meeting with Muslim today from 6pm until 10pm and the event tomorrow will be at Appleton tower in Edinburgh and will commence at 7pm lasting until 11pm.

Picture courtesy of SSK

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