Syrian Kurds pull out from Geneva negotiations in protest against Syrian opposition


Members of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) speak to reporters in Qamishli. File photo

ARA News

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) on Wednesday pulled out from the negotiations in Geneva as a protest against the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC).

“The KNC delegates pulled out from these negotiations as a protest against the High Negotiations Committee because they rejected the Kurdish issue to be included in the [negotiations] schedule,” Zara Salih, a senior KNC-affiliated Yekiti politician told ARA News.

“The Syrian opposition are against federalism and constitutional Kurdish national rights, and they want to delay discussing Kurdish rights in the future,” he said.

The Kurdish politician said the Syrian opposition wants to reach an agreement with the Syrian government and then give no rights to the Kurds.

“Maybe tomorrow if there is no answer, there will be a press conference by the KNC,” Salih told ARA News.

Until now both the Syrian government and the opposition oppose any form of federalism in northern Syria.

A non-paper from the office of UN Syria Special Envoy Steffan de Mistura called for “local self-administration” areas in Syria.

However, the KNC earlier criticized de Mistura’s proposal, suggesting it ignored Kurdish rights in Syria.

However, Salih said the problem is not with the UN, but with the Syrian opposition.

“Unfortunately, we only find a bare list of catchwords here, whereas it stays entirely open, what ‘local self-administration’ is intended to mean, for instance,” said Kamiran Hajo, Chairman of the Committee for External Affairs at the Kurdish National Council in Syria.

“Finding a solution for the ‘Kurdish question’, however, is definitely of high significance,” Hajo told ARA News. “This issue, though, is in no way considered in the non-paper; the interests of up to 15 per cent of the Syrian people are being categorically ignored.”

“Due to the outlined reasons, the Kurdish National Council in Syria cannot identify with de Mistura’s non-paper. Furthermore, we want to point out that we expect an explicit commitment to the Kurdish issue’s relevance for a peace settlement by both the Syrian opposition – our associates – and the UN,” Hajo stated.

The Kurdish National Council has explicitly called for the creation of a federal Kurdistan region in Syria, while the rival Democratic Union Party (PYD) has called for a non-ethnic federal region in Northern Syria.

On Tuesday, U.S Coalition Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, ground forces commander, said the US-led coalition has no plan to create a Kurdish state.

“It’s not my mission to create a Kurdish federal state, and we’re not liberating Raqqa for any one party. Actually what we see with the Syrian Democratic Forces is although they may be largely Kurdish led, they are over half non-Kurd,” Lieutenant General Townsend said.

“So, I don’t see a Kurdish state. I see a multi-cultural, multi-party, multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian Syrian region being liberated from ISIS,” he said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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