Istanbul meet urges unity

Istanbul meet urges unity

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Istanbul meet urges unity

Members of Syrian opposition groups hold three-day meetings in Istanbul’s Silivri district. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Nearly 150 members of the Syrian opposition met in Istanbul yesterday for the beginning of a three-day conference to focus on “transitional governance and management after the downfall of the [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad regime.” The members, from many different rebel groups, emphasized “the need to stand together against the al-Assad regime,” during the meeting in Istanbul.

Abdul Hakim Bashar, the head of the Kurdish National Council of Syria, said the meeting was part of an unarmed struggle against al-Assad to act in accordance with the Syrian National Council.

“We Kurds are against al-Assad two times more than the opponent Syrian Arabs since we faced his atrocities for being Kurds and for being opponents. But al-Assad is trying to divide the opposition movement in this manner by using this ethnic and religious diversity in the country. He is trying to use Kurds as a trump card,” Bashar said in reference to recent reports that Kurds and rebels are fighting with each other in Syria.

Fears of a new front have risen as Syrian fighters reportedly clashed with a group of Kurdish militia members on Oct. 28 in the northern city of Aleppo. Bashar said the situation was unclear and only al-Assad would benefit from these kinds of clashes.

When Bashar was asked the why the cease-fire for Eid al-Adha failed, he said they knew both sides would not faithfully comply as they were fiercely divided.

“There are countless sides in this war. It was already impossible to stick to this cease-fire in the beginning. Both al-Assad and the Free Syrian Army have many parts inside acting without a proper decision-making mechanism,” Bashar said.

The conference, which was organized by the Washington D.C.-based think tank the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies (SCPSS), aimed to provide a space for the Syrian opposition to build a common vision regarding transitional governance and management after “the downfall of the al-Assad regime.”

The Kurdish National Council, the Syrian National Council, the Damascus Declaration, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, the Free Syrian Army and local coordinating committees and administration council leaders from within Syria were among those who participated in the conference.