Kurdish Sieda may be next SNC leader

Kurdish Sieda may be next SNC leader

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Kurdish Sieda may be next SNC leader

Abdulbaset Sieda (L) and Ghalioun (R) meet with FSA leader Col Riad al-Asaad seven months ago in Hatay.

Abdulbaset Sieda, the Syrian dissident of Kurdish origin, is the strongest candidate to become the next leader of Syria’s main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council (SNC), the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

SNC is to elect its new leader this weekend at a meeting held in Istanbul.

Sweden-based Syrian dissident Sieda is likely to be the next leader of the SNC following the resignation of the group’s former leader Burhan Ghalioun in May.

Ghalioun, a secular sociologist backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, announced his resignation May 17 to avert divisions within the opposition bloc after activists on the ground accused him of monopolizing power. A prominent Syrian dissident who spoke under the condition of anonymity said almost everyone inside the SNC has reconciled on electing Sieda, except the Kurdish groups who are inside the SNC.

Large concensus

“There is a largely consensus on Sieda but some groups, especially Kurds, are still opposing his leadership mainly because they don’t believe that Sieda is a name that can represent the Syrian Kurds,” the Syrian dissident said. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had last week said the strongest candidate for the leadership of the Syrian National Council is a Kurdish dissident, but failed to mention his name. “He will probably be the chairman [of the SNC]. It is enough for us that he is a Syrian. It is also important for us that our Kurdish brothers could be in the management,” Davutoğlu said last week. However, Sieda was harshly criticized by the Kurdish National Council, built by the Kurdish Syrian dissident in the Northern Iraqi capital Arbil, in the beginning of 2012.

Sieda, who is known for his opposing views to federalism in Syria and is in favor of decentralization within Syria regarding the Kurdish situation. The SNC meeting for the election of the new leader is expected to last until June 10.