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

  • Dad of Times Square crash victim leaves note at her memorial

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The father of a Michigan tourist killed by an out-of-control driver in Times Square left a note at a memorial for his daughter, thanking New Yorkers for their support and saying her loss was a hole in his heart "that can never be filled. Source
  • Female inmate at Ontario jail dies after being found unresponsive in cell

    Canada News CBC News
    A woman who was found unresponsive in her cell at the South West Detention Centre just outside Windsor, Ont., has died. The woman was found by correctional staff who performed first aid until an ambulance arrived, according to Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesperson Andrew Morrison. Source
  • Man set afire during Venezuela protest as death toll rises

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is accusing protesters of setting fire to a government supporter, saying what he calls "Nazi-fascist" elements are taking root inside the opposition's ranks and contributing to a dangerous spiral of violence in the two-month anti-government protest movement. Source
  • Over 31 million people internally displaced in 2016: report

    World News CTV News
    Internally displaced civilians, who fled their homes during fighting between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State group, receive humanitarian aids at Amariyah Fallujah, Iraq, Saturday, June 25, 2016. (AP / Khalid Mohammed) Source
  • Palestinian killed attacking police as Trump visited: Israel

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israeli police said a Palestinian attacker was killed after he tried to stab officers near Jerusalem as President Donald Trump visited the city on Monday, while clashes erupted in the West Bank as Palestinians declared a strike in solidarity with hundreds of hunger striking prisoners held in Israeli jails. Source
  • Did the first lady just swat away the president's hand?

    World News CTV News
    Did first lady Melania Trump just swat away her husband’s hand? U.S. President Donald Trump touched down in Tel Aviv, Israel on Monday with the first lady for his second stop of his first international trip as president. Source
  • Bill White, member of Summit Series team, dead at 77

    Canada News CBC News
    Bill White, a former Chicago Blackhawks All-Star defenceman and a member of Canada's 1972 Summit Series team, has died. He was 77. The Blackhawks announced White's death Monday. White, a Toronto native, started his career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1967 before being traded to Chicago during the 1969-70 season. Source
  • Traps set, trails closed after bear attacks hiker near Squamish, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    SQUAMISH, B.C. - Trails were closed in a mountain community north of Vancouver after a bear attacked a hiker. The District of Squamish says in a Facebook post that a man and a woman were hiking in the Merrill Park area on Sunday afternoon when a female bear spotted them and charged. Source
  • This Toronto business owner is creating safe space salons for the LGBT community

    Canada News CBC News
    For many people, a haircut is just a haircut. But Kristin Rankin knows just how important a positive salon experience can be — especially for transgender youth. "I know of a lot of instances where they don't even get serviced," Rankin told CBC News reporter Ioanna Roumeliotis. Source
  • Dakota Access pipeline spilled 380 litres of oil from 2 leaks in March

    World News CBC News
    The Dakota Access pipeline system leaked more than 380 litres of oil in two separate incidents in North Dakota in March as crews prepared the pipeline for operation. They're the $3.8 billion pipeline's second and third known leaks. Source