ARA News – Exclusive
Haitham al-Maleh is the head of the legal committee in the Syrian National Coalition –the largest umbrella of opposition factions. Maleh maintains that the Kurdish political forces were invited to join the ranks of the coalition, “but didn’t respond” and “they are already late”, describing the Kurdish demands in Syria as “impossible”. In an exclusive interview with ARA News, Maleh insisted that the Kurdish political parties have been given the opportunity to join the opposition’s ranks, but reluctance and uncertainty was their position.
“We invited the Kurdish parties to the coalition, and we even offered them a vice-president position,” Maleh said. “By now they are late to join the National Coalition.”
On the other hand, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), Abdulhakim Bashar, emphasized that his several Kurdish political figures resorted to the coalition, “but unfortunately all our delegations were marginalized and their demands weren’t taken seriously,” Bashar told ARA News.
According to Maleh, the Kurdish demands are “unattainable” and difficult to discuss at the moment.
“Our revolution is not finished yet, and nobody has the right to ask for what is unattainable and extorting,” he argued, adding: “The Kurdish rights can only be discussed after the collapse of the Assad regime and the formation of an elected government and representative parliament.”
Being asked on the current activities of the Syrian opposition amid the ongoing conferences in Istanbul, Maleh said that these conferences are mainly meant to study the situation of the coalition and the possibility of expanding its ranks.
“We are also looking into the option of responding to the international conference of ‘Geneva 2’, beside the election of a new leader for the coalition and the representatives,” he added.
Maleh criticized the recently formed liberal opposition bloc, led by the prominent Christian opposition figure Michel Kilo. Maleh said that the bloc demanded 25 chairs in the coalition, “which caused a confusion within the coalition.”
According to Maleh, the liberal’s list of candidates were being imposed by Kilo without seeking a consensus.
“I believe the coalition is formed on an electoral basis, and what Mr. Kilo and his group intend to do is unacceptable,” he said. “Therefore, we formed an electoral committee, but no solutions are reached yet.”
Maleh told ARA News that certain practices by some opposition groups may lead to undesirable confusion within the National Coalition. He insisted:” The fact that the National Coalition is the only internationally recognized body is not in the interest of the Syrian revolution at all.”
Furthermore, Maleh emphasized that the participation of the National Coalition in the conference of Geneva 2 will be on condition of reassuring the removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power, “any other decisions will definitely contradict the basis on which the Syrian National Coalition was formed,” he said.
“It is not possible to take part in any negotiations while Assad is still in Power,” Maleh stated.
He expressed his wishes to submit Assad to trial: “I am personally against a normal departure of Assad from Syria. After committing crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing massacres, he should rather be arrested and undergo trial along with other members of his regime.”
Several conditions should imposed on the Assad regime, as pointed out by Maleh: “Dissolving the current Syrian Parliament, transferring Assad’s authority to the vice-president or the Prime Minister, issuing a general amnesty for the prisoners, revealing the names of the missing people in the regime’s prisons, stopping the use of aviation and heavy weapons, and withdrawing the army to its barracks.”
Interview by: Rebwar Boski
Translated by: Rwaida al-Harfoush
Source: ARA News
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