UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently announced the creation of a constitutional committee on Syria, with participation from the Syrian regime and representatives of selected Syrian opposition groups. Unfortunately, this committee is by no means representative of all the peoples or regions of Syria, nor is it representative of all of those who have made sacrifices in the struggle to bring peace and stability to the country.
Secretary-General Guterres stated, “I strongly believe that the launch of the Syrian-owned and Syrian-led Constitutional Committee can and must be the beginning of the political path out of the tragedy toward a solution in line with resolution 2254 (2015) that meets the legitimate aspirations of all Syrians and is based on a strong commitment to the country’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity.”
Nonetheless, the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, a multi-ethnic, multi-religious authority that currently governs approximately 30% of Syria’s territory, has been pointedly excluded from this constitutional committee. While the bloody conflict in Syria drags on, the Autonomous Administration continues to serve the needs of the peoples of Northern and Eastern Syria in the face of ongoing violence, internal and external security threats, and difficult economic circumstances. If the United Nations truly seeks to reflect the aspirations of all Syrians, then the Autonomous Administration must be allowed to participate in constitutional committee. A national solution cannot be reached if the representatives of Northern and Eastern Syria are ignored.
The Autonomous Administration is a product of the success of the Rojava Revolution, in which the Kurdish people of Syria, together with other ethnic and religious communities in Northern and Eastern Syria, established institutions of local self-administration against the backdrop of violent unrest in the country. Earlier this year, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed forces of the Autonomous Administration, concluded their hard-fought campaign to liberate Syria from ISIS. Over 11,000 brave men and women gave their lives to achieve this victory.
Despite the accomplishments of the Autonomous Administration and SDF, many rival forces remain united in their aim to deny the Kurdish people of Syria and their allies any degree of freedom. Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, various conferences purportedly aimed at bringing an end to strife in Syria have been organised by international and regional powers without any representation of the Kurdish people, and these efforts have all ended in failure.
To ensure that all Syrians are given a voice in their future, we call for the inclusion of the Autonomous Administration in this constitutional committee and all discussions of solutions to the crises plaguing the country.
Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress
Brussels 25. September 2019