ZALIN (QAMISHLI) – In a step for more cooperation between various opposition parties in North and East Syria, on Tuesday, the new opposition alliance of the Peace and Freedom Front was established after a founding meeting in Zalin (Qamishli). The Front’s founding statement states that over the course of the last couple of months political views were aligned between the Kurdish National Council in Syria, the Syriac Assyrian Democratic Organization, the Arab Council in al-Jazira and Euphrates and Syria’s Tomorrow Movement and this alignment has now resulted in the establishment of a political alliance to “coordinate efforts to find a political solution in Syria that will save the nation from the pit it is sliding into, and the existential dangers surrounding it while the Regime clings to a military solution.”
The return of the KDP-backed Kurdish National Council, founded in 2011 under auspices of Massoud Barzani, to North and East Syria was made possible by American and French sponsored Kurdish-Kurdish talks which led to the reopening of KNC offices in North and East Syria. Earlier this year, the Assyrian Democratic Organization visited Massoud Barzani in the Kurdish Region in Iraq. The ADO has its home base in Zalin (Qamishli) in the Gozarto Region (al-Jazira).
Among the principles of the new Peace and Freedom Front are equal citizenship; representational democracy in an independent and sovereign Syria; recognition of the Kurdish, Syriac, and Turkmen languages as official languages alongside the Arabic language in the regions in which they constitute a majority (regions can define one or several additional languages as an official language); the promotion of civil and social peace between the components of the Gozarto Region and the east of the Euphrates and in all regions of Syria.
Below the Peace and Freedom Front principles in full (disclaimer: translated from Arabic):
- Syria is an independent, sovereign state, in which the people have sovereignty, and it is the source of all powers, and is based on the principle of equal citizenship and separation of powers, independence of the judiciary, the principle of the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power through free and fair elections.
- Constitutional recognition that Syria is a country of multiple nationalities, cultures, and religions, and the Syrian people consist of Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Syriacs, Turkmen, and others. The constitution guarantees their national rights and considers their languages and cultures, national languages and cultures that represent the essence of Syria’s history and civilization.
- The Front affirms its commitment to constitutional recognition of the national identity of the Kurdish people, to consider the Kurdish issue as an essential part of the national issue and general democracy in the country, and to recognize the national rights of the Kurdish people within the framework of Syria’s territorial and people’s unity. The Front works to cancel all discriminatory policies, decrees and procedures applied to the right of the Kurds, address its effects and repercussions, return citizenship to the deprived and depressed, compensate the affected and restore the rights of their owners.
- Commitment to the legitimacy of human rights and all related charters in the political, social, economic and cultural fields.
- The Front sees decentralization as the best way to manage the country while preserving the unity of the Syrian lands, to protect the national and cultural pluralism, and to ensure the promotion of popular participation and the fair distribution of power and resources and achieving balanced and sustainable development. For all regions and what this may require by reviewing the existing administrative divisions.
- The Front is committed to the political process that is taking place under the auspices of the United Nations with the aim of reaching a political solution in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions, especially Resolution No. 2254. The Front affirms that it is part of the Syrian national opposition, and works with all international and regional parties influencing the Syrian issue, to stop the war, end tyranny and restore peace, and achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom, justice and democracy.
- The front works by peaceful means to establish peace and freedom, respect human rights, promote civil and social peace, deepen the bonds of coexistence, and advance the Syrian National League so that it is based on the foundations of justice, equality and full partnership between all Syrians.
- Repealing all exceptional laws and courts, and rejecting the processes of demographic change that took place and are taking place in light of the ongoing war in Syria.
- Guaranteeing the rights, freedom, and equitable participation of women in all institutions of the Syrian state, at a rate of no less than 30 percent.
- Syria is a democratic republic that adopts the principle of separating religion from the state and is neutral towards all nationalities and religions, recognizing and guaranteeing the freedom of religions and beliefs, including the Yazidi religion.
- Acknowledging political pluralism, freedom of peaceful political action, and competition between multiple political perspectives, according to the principle of equal opportunities.
- Work to formulate a consensus for a new constitution for the country in which all components of the Syrian people participate, and pass it through a public referendum.
- The Front adopts the principles and measures of transitional justice after the completion of the democratic transition process, as a step towards achieving national reconciliation, addressing the effects and tragedies of war, reparations, and holding those who committed war crimes or crimes against humanity accountable and bringing them to justice.
- The mission of the army and security services is to defend the homeland, protect its security, independence, and territorial integrity, and protect the citizen and institutions, subject to government decisions, and their affiliates are prohibited from engaging in political activity or belonging to political parties and currents while they are in service.
- The Syrian state guarantees comprehensive representation and equal participation in the state and its institutions for all components, and secures equal opportunities politically, economically, socially and culturally for all citizens and citizens.