Syrian opposition, Turkey reject discussing new Constitution

Syria’s main opposition groups and Turkey rejected on Friday discussing the future administrative make-up of Syria or a new constitution at talks aiming to end the war.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry hosted Syrian political opposition groups and representatives of opposition fighting factions at a meeting in Ankara ahead of new peace talks later this month.

A Turkish foreign ministry source said that at the Ankara meeting “all participants pointed out that bringing up the future administrative system of Syria… and attempting to start a discussion on issues such as a new constitution, autonomy or federalism… risk serving the purposes of those who pursue unilateral agendas.”
Turkey is wary of any proposal to split Syria into federations, especially including a Kurdish entity in the northeast. A fragile ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia between opposition fighters and the regime has largely held since December. But the source said all sides denounced “unacceptable” violations of the ceasefire and acquisitions of territory by the regime. They also warned against the presence of “fake opposition” at the talks, a reference to groups deemed by Turkey to be too loyal to Assad favoured by Moscow.
The meeting was attended by the key opposition figures including Riad Hijab, head of the High Negotiation Committee and Syrian National Coalition head Anas al-Abdeh.
Members of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly representing the Turkmen minority, and the Kurdish National Council were also present.

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