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Kurds protest 'unjust exclusion' from drafting new Syrian constitution

Kurds have fought in decisive battles during the US-backed campaign against IS [Getty Images]

Date of publication: 2 October, 2019

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The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria this week decried its exclusion from the committee as 'unjust', saying it undermined the principles of democracy.
Hundreds of Kurdish protesters took to the streets on Wednesday to denounce their exclusion from the United Nations-backed committee in charge of drafting the new Syrian constitution.

The long-awaited formation of the committee will include 150 members, split evenly between Syria's regime, the opposition and Syrian civil society.

Even though individual Kurdish representatives are part of the opposition and civil society factions, protesters are calling the exclusion of the Kurdish administration "unjust", as it controls almost a third of the country.

"It's our right to participate in the drafting of the constitution," read one sign in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli, reported AFP.

Talaat Younes, a Kurdish administration official, stressed the need to include "all components of Syrian society,'' especially with many mourning their loved ones who died in the war-effort against the Islamic State group.  

"Our military force has achieved significant success. We must have representatives on this committee," said Hashem Shawish, one of the protesters, to AFP

Syrian Kurds led the fight against IS in some of the most decisive battles of the conflict, kicking out the jihadists and conquering significant territory in the north and east of the country.

Kurds have also been sidelined by the parallel Russian-backed negotiations due to Turkey labelling them as terrorists. 

The new constitution was announced by the UN last month, after numerous rounds of failed UN-led peace talks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sees the committee as a first step toward finding a solution to the conflict.

The European Union's Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, also welcomed the announcement and said it "gives back hope to the Syrians".

But there are doubts over whether Assad's regime will be willing to make significant concessions on its hold on power.

The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since erupting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.

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