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Syrian opposition meeting wraps up in Cairo after brawl

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The Syrian opposition meeting held over two days in Cairo wrapped up on Tuesday after nearly falling apart over disputes in the authority and representation

Borhan Ghalioun, former chairman of the Syrian National Council said despite the challenges of the meeting they “reached a consensus and approved the establishment of a unified country.”

Kurds have found themselves again in the middle of the escalation in Syria and the tension may be too much.

On Tuesday, the meeting between Syria’s opposition members in Cairo descended into a brawl when members of the Kurdish delegation stood up and began to walk out.

Frustrated by the lack of progress the Syrian Kurds quit the meeting, provoking anger and shoving from delegates demanding they stay and work toward a resolution.

Kurds in the region, while differing on the methods and goals within the countries they reside in, are unified by a lack of recognition of their identity.

The estimated 40 million people who identify themselves as ethnically Kurdish live in a zone that straddles mostly Turkey, followed by Iraq, Iran and then Syria.

Allegedly one of the major points of disagreement at Tuesday’s meeting was the decision to authorise a committee to act as the public face of the very splintered opposition, according to opposition leader Haitham al-Manah in an interview with Reuters.

Morshed Mashouk, a senior member of the Kurdish delegation told Reuters, “we will not return to the conference and that is our final line.

We are a people as we have language and religion and that is what defines a people.” The Syrian National Committee is also averse to handing over the power of their current authority to any party.

They have been acting as the principal body of the Syrian uprising and told reporters they would not agree to the formation of the representative committee.

The Syrian Kurds may be struggling to unify with more than just the Syrian opposition. Against a backdrop of military escalation with Turkey, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad seems to have assumed there are uniform transnational Kurdish goals which he could use to activate the nation’s Kurds, in collaboration with Turkey’s larger Kurdish community, against Erdogan and in favour of his own survival.

Al-Assad is offering citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Kurds to win their favour and lure Turkey’s highly militarized Kurds into his arms.

It’s an assumption that might work against him. One Turkish officer told a Financial Times reporter, that Al- Assad’s tactic could prove dangerous.

“If Assad resumes that game, you can be sure that we will respond by bombing Syria,” the official said.

Last week, the leader of the Kurdish Freedom (Azadi) Party in Syria and member of the Kurdish National Council (KNC), Mustafa Juma, was detained at a checkpoint at the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to Rudaw, an Iraqi- Kurdish news service.

Juma was charged with intending to handover sensitive information about Syria›s pro-Assad People’s Protection Committee (PPC), the armed wing of the pro-Assad Democratic Union Party (PYD) to the Turkish consulate in Iraq.

Tuesday’s meeting did conclude that a follow up meeting should be held in Damascus to create a legislative body and draft the outlines of an interim government to lead Syria’s transition.

Al-Assad’s survival has so far benefitted from the disunity of Syria’s opposition as well as the international community’s lack of interest in an intervention such as in Libya.