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Opposition figure urges international support for Syrian people

  • Fri, 22 Dec 2017 09:28
Fri, 2017-12-22 03:00

JEDDAH/BEIRUT: A Syrian opposition figure has urged the international community and civil society organizations worldwide to continue supporting the Syrian people’s democratic aims and promoting the development of human rights in the country.
“The elimination of terrorism begins by eradicating dictatorships and building democratic systems,” Bahia Mardini, a UK-based journalist and human rights activist who fled regime persecution, told Arab News.
Her remarks came as Kurdish officials said Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Russian-sponsored peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. It would mark the first time Syria’s main Kurdish groups are brought into peace talks.
The talks were originally scheduled for Nov. 18 but were postponed, and the Kremlin on Thursday said no new date has been set.
If the invitation is renewed, “we will attend Sochi and every other meeting that concerns the Syrian crisis as representatives of the people’s will,” Reuters quoted Sihanouk Depo, an official of Syria’s main Kurdish party, as saying.
Badran Jia Kurd, a senior Kurdish official, told Reuters on Thursday: “We are still invited.” If the framework for the talks still stands, “we will attend,” said Jia Kurd, an adviser to the administration that governs Kurdish-led autonomous regions of Syria.
Mardini said: “Kurdish groups must be part of the conference, because if we’re genuinely hoping to achieve democracy and peace, everyone in Syria should be allowed to play a part in helping to shape the country’s future.”
She added: “We mustn’t allow any group to be excluded from democracy, or from helping to make Syria a democratic country.
“Under Daesh and under the regime, all Syrians were repressed. That’s why they must now be able to have their voice heard.”
Serious progress in the political process must be achieved with the help of the international community, Mardini said.

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