ISTANBUL (Kurdistan 24) – The Turkish-backed Syrian opposition on Tuesday assured that while the constitutional committee includes a small number of Kurdish members, they nevertheless represent “the Kurds.”
“A small number of the Kurdish National Council members are included in the negotiation committee, but they represent the council as a whole,” Nasr Hariri, Syrian opposition chief negotiator told reporters in Istanbul.
“There are also Syrian Kurdish members in the other two representative groups of the constitutional committee,” he said, referring to the regime and civil society.
Hariri said that, regardless of the number of participants, the opposition wants the Kurds to be present and active in the constitutional committee and for “their demands to be on the table” as they participate in “drawing the future of Syria.”
On September 23, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said an agreement had been reached between the Syrian regime and opposition on “a credible, balanced, and inclusive constitutional committee.”
The committee also includes a third group of 50 independent members, referred to as the civil society.
However, this committee has not satisfied all forces on the ground, namely the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the military force of the self-administration in the northeast of Syria and fighting the Islamic State.
The self-administration in northeastern Syria and the SDF criticized the constitutional committee for excluding their region and force.
Geir Pedersen must know that having a couple of Kurds from NE Syria who are allied with Damascus or the opposition doesn’t mean Kurds r represented in the committee. NE Syria administration have been totally left out of this process. Any other claim re Kurds&committee is false. https://t.co/k1OtloynSI— Mustafa Bali (@mustefabali) September 29, 2019
Syrian Kurds are scattered across several factions, including a few members allied with the Assad regime such as the Damascus-based Syrian Kurds’ National Initiative (SKNI).
Another faction is part of the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition, the Kurdish National Council, referred to as KNC or ENKS in Kurdish.
The third and more active group on the ground, with its own military force, is the Kurdish-run self-administration governing the country’s northeast. Its military force, the SDF, is spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its women’s brigade, the YPJ.
The SDF-run self-administration has been excluded from several international negotiations on Syria, including the Geneva and Sochi talks.
Editing by Nadia Riva