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Syrian Opposition Group to Protest Kurdish Exclusion From Peace Talks

© AFP 2023 / BULENT KILICMusa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on January 30, 2015
Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on January 30, 2015 - Sputnik International
With Syrian peace talks set to begin Friday, Western parties have refused to let Kurdish groups take part. Qadri Jamil of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation tells Sputnik that members of the Syrian opposition intend to take the matter to the UN Special Envoy to argue for Kurdish inclusion.

In the fight against Daesh, also known as IS/Islamic State, few ground forces have been as effective as the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). The group played a crucial role in liberating the city of Kobane, and has had a number of other victories throughout Syria’s bloody conflict.

A man holds the flag of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as Kurds living in Greece protest in central Athens on October 8, 2014 - Sputnik International
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Yet when Syrian peace talks begin on Friday, the PYD will be absent from the discussion, based largely on opposition from the Turkish government, which views the Kurdish community as a threat.

Still, the PYD’s exclusion isn’t going unnoticed.

"Our delegation believes that Kurdish representatives are full-fledged members of the delegation and should be participating in the talks from the very beginning," Qadri Jamil told Sputnik, adding that his group plans to take its concerns to the United Nations.

"The UN resolution [on Syrian reconciliation] says that all spectrum of the opposition should take part in the talks," he said. "We shall try to achieve this. Tonight we shall meet with the office of [UN Special Envoy Staffan] de Mistura to discuss, in particular, Kurdish participation."

Members of the Kurdish internal security forces (known as the Asayish) check vehicles on December 16, 2015 in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli as tensions rose between regime forces and Kurdish fighter in the city - Sputnik International
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Jamil said that his organization met with Alexey Borodavkin, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and Other International Organizations in Geneva, on Wednesday to discuss Kurdish exclusion.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2254 on Syria’s civil war settlement on December 18, which called for an immediate ceasefire and the implementation of peace talks. Those talks will begin on Friday, with hopes of ending a civil war that has raged in the country since 2011.

A subsequent round of talks to be held in February will focus on finalizing a list of groups operating in Syria that will be considered terrorists.

"The meeting in the Vienna format in Munich will be convened to add to the UN Security Council agenda on the issue of terrorist organizations, and to reach consensus on this issue," Jamil told Sputnik.

General view of the United Nations (UN) offices in Geneva - Sputnik International
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The discussion will include Russia, the Arab League countries, the European Union, China, Iran, Turkey, the US, and the UN.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stressed that Moscow and Washington are in agreement that Kurdish involvement is crucial to a long-lasting peace in the region.

"We mean Kurds, of course, without whom there is no point to hope for any progress or decisions being made. We believe that the Kurds must participate," he told RIA Novosti. When asked if the US agrees, Gatilov said "as far as we understand, yes."

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