Wladimir van Wilgenburg-ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) organized a dialogue workshop in the German city of Bochum on Sept. 21 to 22 to establish a third bloc as an alternative to the Syrian opposition controlled by Turkey and the Syrian government.
Hussein Omar, a representative of the Syrian Future Party in Europe, and a member of the executive committee of the workshop, said the bloc would “represent the Syrian people in the future.”
“If there is an alternative, it will…be a fundamental opposition force, both against the Assad regime, or the opposition tied to foreign countries that do not work for the interests of Syria,” he told Kurdistan 24.
The meeting is the fourth meeting in Europe. Previous meetings were held in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin.
SDC co-chair Riyad Derrar told Kurdistan 24 that the goal of these Syrian-Syrian dialogue workshops is to establish a “shared vision or united vision for Syria’s future.”
On Sept. 17, an agreement was reached to form a constitutional meeting outside of Syria involving the presidents of Turkey, Iran, and Russia as part of the Astana talks.
Neither the United States nor the self-administration in northeast Syria was part of these agreements.
According to Derrar, the tripartite meeting specifically targeted the administration in northeast Syria.
“The administration in the northeast of Syria is the card that attracts Turkey to join Astana, that’s why you see this hostile attitude,” he stated.
It was, therefore, no surprise that a day before the meeting, the Syrian regime called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) “terrorists” and “separatists.”
The joint Astana declaration also underlined that the three states stand against “illegitimate self-rule initiatives” and “separatist” agenda’s, and discussed the situation in Syria’s northeast.
The SDC workshops aim to form an alternative to the Turkish-controlled opposition and the regime backed by Iran and Russia.
The two-day workshop meetings also attracted Syrians who are critical of the SDF and the local administration. During the sessions, there were constructive debates, SDC officials said.
“We had many discussions,” Jihad Omar, co-chair of the SDC public relations office, said in a public statement published on the SDC website. “The opinion of the participants was very valuable.”
“But we respect everybody that accepts this invitation,” Hussein Omar said.
Some of the Syrians that participated in these meetings did not want to be shown in public “because they dislike to be seen working with the SDC,” Hussein noted.
Others are worried about their families who still live in areas the Assad regime controls, and others due to families who live in areas under Turkish control, he added.
In the future, more workshops will be organized in Sweden and a pre-final meeting in Brussels. There are also plans to hold similar meetings in Egypt and Lebanon.
In the end, a national conference for the democratic opposition will be held in Ain Issa, the capital of the administration of northeast Syria.
Nevertheless, Derrar said if there is a need for more workshops and if opposition members express their willingness to participate, “we will organize more.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany