There is no doubt that the "national document on the Kurdish issue," which was issued by the Syrian National Council (SNC) following the "Friends" conference [April 3, 2012] as a result of the strong Kurdish reaction (the Kurds withdrew from the conference), is a qualitative leap in the Arab opposition's perception of the rights of the Kurdish people. The Kurds’ withdrawal resulted in a lethal blow to the mood of the Kurdish street.
In fact, the first point in this document confirms the SNC’s “commitment to constitutional acknowledgment of the national identity of the Kurdish people, the consideration of the Kurdish issue as a fundamental concern in the country, and the recognition of the national rights of the Kurdish people within the framework of the unity of Syria's land and its people."
Moreover, it said tha "the new Syria is a democratic, civil and pluralistic state which embraces a republican system based on equal citizenship, separation of powers, devolution of power, rule of law and the expansion of local government."
This demonstrates that, through this document, the SNC is seeking to build a political, revolutionary partnership with the Kurds. Prior to the conference, it had avoided any mention of a decentralized system. However, in this document it calls for the "expansion of the powers of the local government."
This new position has relieved the Kurds. In fact, the nine-point document paints a clear picture of the Kurdish situation in a future Syria. Furthermore, this document pushes the Kurds toward greater integration with the components of the Syrian revolution, and elucidates the relationship between the Arab and the Kurdish oppositions.
The Kurdish delegation withdrew from the Istanbul conference, claiming that it felt "marginalized and excluded." Furthermore, a strong Turkish influence could be felt in the wording of the public document, which was deemed by the Kurds as "by and large" lacking any acknowledgement of the Kurds as an essential national component of Syria.
Should all parties commit to the document and deal with it in a responsible manner, it will be of great importance for the following reasons:
- The signatories will agree on committing to the program of the Syrian revolution, which aims at bringing down the regime and building a civilian and democratic Syria, while uniting their political and local efforts.
- The document will be complementary to the national pact document that was signed by the opposition.
These two factors will open prospects for the development of a new cohesive formula which meets the expectations of the revolution. But the question still stands: Will the opposition agree on such an advanced version?