GENEVA, Switzerland (K24) – Kurds have been excluded from the Syrian peace talks in Geneva after Turkey demanded they be kept away, Saleh Muslim, the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told K24 on Friday.
“Turkey’s only concern in Syria is the Kurds, instead of solving the dilema in the country,” Mr. Muslim stated. “This intervention for selfish purposes hinders any efforts to find a solution to the crisis.”
Mr. Muslim said that both Turkey and the Syrian opposition had false excuses for keeping the Kurds away from the Geneva III negotiations.
“Syrian opposition parties say that the PYD party should be part of the government delegation, although they [the opposition] know well that we [PYD] have been in conflict with the Syrian regime since the 2004-Qamishlo-uprising before the Syrian crisis,” he said.
Regarding the Kurds’ exclusion from the peace talks, Mr. Muslim said that the problem started when the Syrian opposition platform (created in Saudi Arabia last month) decided to include some Kurdish parties and exclude others.
Mr. Muslim said that along with the PYD, other effective Kurdish forces have not been considered for the negotiations.
“Ignoring the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Democratic Autonomous Administration [of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava)] means that the peace talks are doomed to fail,” he said.
“Many parties of the Syrian opposition in the Riyadh Conference were pushed by Turkey who stands against any peace process in Syria, especially if the Kurds lead a democratic initiative,” he added, noting that Turkey is against any type of Kurdish ambition.
Furthermore, Mr. Muslim explained that the Kurdish parties within the Syrian Coalition delegation do not represent the Syrian Kurds because they have not been officially invited as a separate Kurdish entity.
“Even if the Kurdish National Council (ENKS) participate in the talks, we refuse any decisions made in the negotiations since we are not part of the decision-making process,” he said.
Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been calling for PYD to be included in the opposition delegation, but the Saudi-backed Sunni Arab opposition has rejected that idea.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov has said it would be unfair to hold the talks without Syria's powerful Kurdish faction which controls wide areas of the north.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Bargasht Wahid conducted the interview from Geneva)