Syria's Kurds leave Geneva after being excluded from peace talks

GENEVA -- The main Syrian opposition delegation left Saudi Arabia for Switzerland on Saturday, however it remained unclear whether the delegation would actually participate in UN-sponsored peace talks aimed at ending Syria's civil war.

See Full Article

The indirect peace talks began here Friday with a meeting between the United Nations envoy and the Syrian government delegation. The main opposition group, the Higher Negotiations Committee or HNC, boycotted that session saying it won't take part until a set of preliminary demands are met: releasing detainees, ending the bombardment of civilians by Russian and Syrian forces, and lifting government blockades on rebel-held areas.

The HNC later agreed to send a delegation to Geneva to meet with U.N. officials, while still insisting it would not negotiate until their demands are met. The HNC decision to send a team to Geneva gave a glimmer of hope that peace efforts in Syria might actually get off the ground for the first time since two earlier rounds of negotiations collapsed in 2014.

Meanwhile officials from Syria's largest Kurdish group left Geneva Saturday after being excluded from the negotiations, a Kurdish official and opposition figures said.

Saleh Muslim, co-president of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, left when it became clear he would not be invited to participate, according to Kurdish official Nawaf Khalil.

The participation of the PYD has been a divisive issue in advance of the Geneva talks. Turkey, which has struggled with its own large Kurdish population, considers the PYD a terrorist organization and the HNC claims they are too close to the Syrian government.

Unlike other groups from outside the HNC that were invited as advisers, the PYD received no invitation from U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura.

The move to exclude the PYD angered Qadri Jamil, a former Syrian deputy prime minister who has become a leading opposition figure but is not part of the HNC. Jamil said the PYD's military wing has been the most effective force on the ground in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.

"The PYD is a historic part of the Syrian democratic opposition and PYD today is fighting terrorism on the ground and it is a main force," Jamil told a group of journalists in Geneva on Saturday.

Jamil said they are working with the UN to resolve the crisis regarding the representation of the PYD.

Bassam Bitar of the opposition's Movement for a Pluralistic Society said the PYD will most likely be invited to take part in future rounds of negotiations.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • One dead, two injured in fire at Ontario youth home

    Canada News CTV News
    KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. -- Ontario provincial police are investigating a fatal fire at a group home for teenagers in the Kawartha Lakes area. Members of the OPP's Kawartha Lakes Detachment were called to the youth facility northwest of the Village of Oakwook late Friday afternoon. Source
  • Turkish PM launches 'yes' campaign over Erdogan powers

    World News CBC News
    Turkey's prime minister has officially launched his ruling party's campaign for a "yes" vote in a referendum on ushering in a presidential system, which critics fear will concentrate too many powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Source
  • Suspect in deadly Kim Jong-nam attack says she got $90 for 'prank'

    World News CBC News
    The Indonesian woman who is one of the suspects in the killing of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un's half brother said she was paid $90 for what she believed was a prank, an Indonesian official said Saturday. Source
  • Britain's 'extremely weak' opposition posing no challenge for PM Theresa May

    World News CBC News
    Winston Churchill is credited with once saying "Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it." The current British prime minister may illustrate the opposite, as Theresa May flies high, facing an opposition akin to a gentle breeze. Source
  • Hard, hard times again — sort of: Why a lot of N.L.'s fiscal problems are self-inflicted

    Canada News CBC News
    Dwight Ball, the affable pharmacist who has been Newfoundland and Labrador's premier for the last 15 months, said something remarkable Wednesday while swinging an axe through several hundred government jobs. "We're human, too. This impacts us," said Ball, who clearly has shown no relish for the more brutal parts of dealing with an oil-dependent economy during a collapse in petroleum prices. Source
  • Giant Tiger and other discounters in expansion mode

    Canada News CBC News
    Whenever Anna Maria Afable travels from British Columbia to visit her friends in Ontario, she makes a point to stop in at a Giant Tiger store. "We don't have it in B.C.," says Afable, as she browses through the fashion section at a location in Barrie, Ont, the newest of the discount chain's 200 stores across the country. Source
  • Want millennial voters? Conservatives must change, researchers say

    Canada News CBC News
    Researchers brought a sobering message to the annual convention of the right-leaning Manning Centre Friday: most voters under 35 aren't connecting with the conservative movement, and if it wants to reach them, more than just messaging needs to change. Source
  • Royal Canadian Mint struggles to make money: documents

    Canada News CBC News
    The Royal Canadian Mint just isn't making the money it used to. Revenue is down sharply, jobs have been chopped, morale is in the tank, and formerly successful lines of business are being shut down – even as the mint spends millions of dollars on new executive offices. Source
  • Muhammad Ali's son detained at Florida airport, questioned on religion

    World News CTV News
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A lawyer says the son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport. Chris Mancini tells the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky that 44-year-old Muhammad Ali Jr. Source
  • U.S. government wants appeal of travel ban put on hold

    World News CTV News
    SEATTLE -- The Justice Department wants a federal appeals court to put U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban case on hold until he issues a new order, but the states who sued to stop the ban want the case to move forward. Source