A leading Syrian opposition group has stated its refusal to hold constitutional talks with the Kurdish militias, labelling them terrorist groups who do not deserve to sit at the negotiations table.
The head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC) Nasr Al-Hariri made the comments yesterday during an online press conference, saying that the coalition does not consider the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) as a legitimate player in the future of Syria but instead as a terror group that recruits foreign fighters.
The refusal, he said, comes as several countries have pressured him to allow the YPG to join the talks for drafting a new Syrian constitution, which are to be held on Monday under the UN-supervised Constitutional Committee with delegations representing the Assad regime and civil society groups.
Throughout the ongoing Syrian conflict, the YPG and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have fought against Daesh, opposition groups, Turkish forces, and at times the Syrian regime. The militias and their Kurdish administration are based in the north-east of the country in the province of Hasakah, east of the Euphrates River.
Despite their insistence that they are a legitimate part of a future Syria, Turkey and the opposition groups that it backs have accused the YPG and SDF of being tied to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist militia designated as a terrorist organisation by the US and EU and which has conducted terror attacks within Turkey and northern Syria.
The YPG – backed by the US – has also been found to have committed a number of human rights violations in Syria, including the forced recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, torture, a crackdown on freedom of speech, and the persecution of elements of the Arab population within the areas under their control.
The constitutional talks that are set to take place on Monday are the fourth round of such negotiations, following the previous rounds which hailed no success.