Syrian Kurds demand removal of opposition representative in Geneva for chauvinist anti-Kurdish statements

Asaad Al-Zoubi (L), High Negotiations Committee's (HNC) chief negotiator, leaves after a meeting with U.N. mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura during peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ARA News 

ERBIL – Syrian Kurds are pressuring the Syrian opposition to resign Asaad al-Zoubi, the head of the Syrian opposition delegation to Geneva talks, after he suggested Kurds were “bandits and “mercenaries throughout history”. 

Al-Zoubi is a defected officer from the Syrian regime. He heads the delegation of the Syrian opposition in Geneva talks–scheduled to resume on 9 April.

“The statements and ideas of the chairman of the negotiating team of the Syrian opposition Assad al-Zoubi have certainly exceeded all limits of chauvinism and racism, and exceeded even Nazism,” said Dr. Kamiran Haj Abdo, a member of the Foreign Relations official of the Kurdish National Council (KNC).

“This shows the denial of the reality of the Kurdish national existence in the country of their historical homeland, that became part of the Syrian state after the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916,” he told ARA News.

“We condemn strongly those beliefs and reject such statements and racist attitudes that smell of chauvinism of the Baath party, and request the removal of Asaad al-Zoubi from the negotiation team. Whoever tried to justify such attitudes, with such racist beliefs should not be allowed to represent the Syrian people and their revolution in the political negotiations in Geneva,” he added.

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) has threatened to leave the Syrian coalition, while being under pressure from Kurdish civilians to make an agreement with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the most powerful Kurdish party on the ground.

“The KNC has demanded from the Syrian coalition to remove him, but we are still waiting,” said Zara Salih, a member of the Political Committee of Kurdish Yekîtî Party. 

The PYD recently put more pressure on the KNC after a group of ‘martyr families’ issued a complaint at the Qamishli court against KNC-leaders Ibrahim Biro, Fuad Aliko, and Abdulhakim Bashar who are attending the Geneva talks for allegations of “offending the martyrs” and “insulting the Rojava revolution”. The KNC rejected the complaint as an attempt of ‘political assassination’ in a statement released on Sunday. 

So far, both the Syrian opposition and the regime have rejected any form of federalism. 

“The Syrian opposition missed a golden opportunity to include the Kurds in the revolution three years ago,” Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington, told ARA News.

“It is too late now. They see the main problem as ‘cultural’, they cannot think in terms of diversity. Now, they will accept what is offered, forced and constrained,” he added.

“It is the same with the Alawis, they refuse to admit that there are sectarian fears. Now the US-Russian solution will impose an Alawi enclave on them,” he said.

“What’s more serious is the opposition’s inability to imagine a historical compromise with the Kurds. They talk of this question like the regime,” he told ARA News. 

So far, no decision has been made on al-Zoubi’s removal. “It is still unclear, a decision will be made in the next few coming days,” said Abdo. 

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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