ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian government’s security service in Hasakah arrested the president of the Federation of Muslim Scholars, Mullah Mohammed Rashid Xerzani, in the local self-administration of Jazeera on Sunday.
A relative of Mullah Xerzani confirmed the news to Kurdistan 24 and added that he was visiting the passport office to make official documents for new children of his relatives.
“He was arrested by the political intelligence at 10 a.m. We don’t know why he was arrested,” one relative said.
“We are still trying to reach him, but no news until now. He went to the passport office, and from there the political intelligence took him,” another relative told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
It is unclear why the religious official was arrested.
In addition to holding a position in the local self-administration, he was the imam of the Badr Mosque in the Hilaliye neighborhood of the city of Qamishlo.
Mullah Xerzani was known for upholding Kurdish national rights and being an independent religious figure who rejected any religious radicalism.
The arrest could also be related to tensions between Damascus and the US-backed local administrations in the northeast of Syria.
Earlier, talks between the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and Damascus were halted after brief clashes broke out in Qamishli on Sept. 8 between the Kurds and Syrian government forces.
“Negotiations with Damascus did not stop because of US pressure but the limited path set by the regime, which was not enough to achieve any progress,” SDC spokesperson Amjad Othman said in a statement.
“The US is an important partner in the fight against terrorism, and its role will be significant in the future of any political solution,” he added.
“Going to Damascus was an independent decision, and we are still open to continue the dialogue with Damascus.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany