Kurdish Bloc Withdraws From Syrian Rebel Council

Leader Accuses Turkey of Removing Kurdish Demands From Council Mandate

The Syrian National Council (SNC), the self-proclaimed umbrella group representing all rebel factions in the country, took a major hit today when it was announced that the ethnic Kurdish bloc has withdrawn entirely from the council.

Abdul-Baki Yousef, the leader of the Kurdish Yakiti Party and former highest ranking Kurdish member of the SNC, claimed that the council has now entirely excised promised recognitions for Syria’s Kurdish minority, and says they were doing so at the behest of the Turkish government. Turkey is hosting the SNC leadership, which is in exile in Istanbul.

Kurdish factions have been struggled to find a side in the Syrian Civil War, with the militant PKK openly backing the Assad government, and threatening to escalate attacks on Turkey if the nation invades.

Indeed, Turkey’s decision to abandon their long-time allies in the regime and endorsing the SNC instead was seen by many analysts as chiefly a function of the SNC’s more nationalist ambitions, with the hopes that they would tamp down secessionist fervor in Syrian Kurdistan.

The loss of the Kurdish bloc from the SNC could weaken the rebels significantly in the nation’s northwest, and could put the Kurds in a better bargaining position if the rebel faction eventually collapses.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.