Syria's FSA must distance itself from al-Nusra, Kurdish leader says

"The FSA has now announced that it did not regard al-Nusra among its membership. However, some troops still side with al-Nusra," PYD leader Salih Muslim said.

Syria's FSA must distance itself from al-Nusra, Kurdish leader says

World Bulletin/News Desk

A Kurdish opposition leader in Syria has said the main opposition army group Free Syrian Army (FSA) must put distance between itself and the al-Nusra Front group.

Salih Muslim of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) told the Anadolu Agency on Monday that the three-day ceasefire between the PYD and al-Nusra had drawn to a close.

"The war has re-started since yesterday," Muslim said.

The PYD's armed branch and al-Nusra were involved in a fight last month, vying for control over a strategic border town in the northern Syria.

"The FSA has now announced that it did not regard al-Nusra among its membership. However, some troops still side with al-Nusra," Muslim said.

"We say, if the FSA really wants democracy in Syria, it needs to distance itself from radicalists. The FSA should not support al-Nusra Front, and it should be clear on this."

Last month’s clashes between the PYD and al-Nusra were seen as the third phase of the conflict between Kurdish fighters and opposition groups, with the first taking place in December last year and the second in January.

The fighting in July resulted in a victory for the PYD, which pushed al-Nusra fighters out of the northern town of Ras al-Ayn, close to Syria’s border with Turkey. Nearly a dozen people died.

Muslim's Turkey visits

Muslim visited Turkey three weeks ago to meet with Turkish intelligence officials. Turkey sees the PYD as a branch of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) organization.

Muslim said he would make another trip to the neighboring country in a matter of days, this time without the secrecy that surrounded his first visit.

The PYD does not have a secret agenda, he said, and regards Turkey's demand for security on its 900 km border with Syria as "legitimate and normal".

The PYD is thought to be preparing to declare autonomy in the northern Syria region, a plan Turkey opposes.

"We're already in dialogue with Turkey," he said, suggesting that humanitarian aid to Syria and Turkey's opening its border gates for shelter-seekers could be topics of discussion for the talks.

Muslim said Turkey changed its attitude towards the group he leads.

"Meeting with PYD's president is a big change for us,” he said.

"The parties involved with Syria have all revised their policies, no matter their circumstances.”

Violence against Kurdish population

Muslim said Kurds in Syria became the target of massacres.

"It is correct that massacres took place. They are calling from mosques; 'everything Kurdish is permitted [to attack].' Houses are blown up, entire village populations are forcibly removed, and people are killed.

"Hundreds have been massacred in Tel Hasil and Tel Aran villages, and thousands displaced. It is not only Russia that denounced the killings. The US State Department also protested them."

The exact number of deaths was not known, Muslim said, but there was video evidence of people brutally murdered.

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2013, 09:49
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