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Syrian opposition: Kurd self-rule ‘hostile’ act

Syria’s main opposition National Coalition blasted Kurdish groups declaring provincial self-rule as a “hostile” act to the country’s “revolution”

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Syria’s main opposition alliance on Wednesday described Kurdish groups, who control large areas of the country’s north, as “hostile” after the latter declared provisional self-rule.

Kurdish militia, dominated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD), sister party of veteran Turkish rebel group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), have held the Afrin region of northwestern Syria and big chunks of the northeast for more than a year, according to Agence France-Presse.

After talks in Qamishli on the Turkish border, they announced their provisional self-rule in areas under their control, modeling neighboring Iraq, where the Kurds have had nominal autonomy from Baghdad since 1970.

“The PYD is a group hostile to the Syrian revolution,” AFP quoted the Sunni Arab-dominated main opposition alliance, the Syrian National Coalition, as saying in a statement formalizing the breach with the main Kurdish militia.

The Coalition, who has been at pains to keep the Kurds on their side, was recognized by most Arab and Western governments.

The alliance added: “Its declaration of self-rule amounts to a separatist act shattering any relationship with the Syrian people who are battling to achieve a free, united and independent state, liberated from tyranny and sovereign over all its territory.”

In order to draw the Kurds more into the Syrian opposition, the Coalition’s main faction, the Syrian National Council, named secular Kurdish dissident Abdulbaset Sayda as its leader last year.

Mounting violence between the Kurds and al-Qaeda loyalists -- who form a major battlefield component of the Sunni Arab-dominated rebellion -- has sparked a deepening rift between the Kurds and the mainstream opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

The Coalition also accused the main Kurdish faction of “attacking” units of the Free Syrian Army... and of shirking the struggle against Assad’s regime.

Kurds, who form 10 percent of Syria’s population, populate both Afrin and the whole northeast region around Qamishli.

Kurds are also significant minorities in Turkey, Iran and Iraq -- all major players in the 32-month conflict.

(With AFP)