- Title: Syrian opposition administration says rebasing to Aleppo province
- Date: 7th November 2016
- Summary: AZAZ, ALEPPO PROVINCE, SYRIA (NOVEMBER 7, 2016) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PRESIDENT OF SYRIA OPPOSITION'S INTERIM GOVERNMENT JAWAD ABU HATAB ARRIVING FOR BRIEFING JAWAD ON STAGE WITH OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GROUP MEETING UNDERWAY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRESIDENT OF SYRIA OPPOSITION'S INTERIM GOVERNMENT, JAWAD ABU HATAB, ADDRESSING MEETING, SAYING: "The United States of America is trying to support the PYD (Kurdish) forces, which by extension is supporting the government, for the sake of the race to capture Raqqa. We have had some communications with some of the brothers in Raqqa in all honesty saying everyone rejects co-operating (with the Kurds). I received letters which state that they will not co-operate with them, God willing. Also, our Turkish brothers are adamant that - as a matter of principle - they will never get involved in (the battle for) Raqqa. There are also some matters which will be revealed in the future. The issue in Syria has become a regional and international issue and we (Syrians) have become squashed by this competition. But as Syrians, we will never accept the partition of any part of Syria." REPORTER ASKING QUESTION MEDIA FILMING REPORTER AUDIENCE / TWO PEOPLE WEARING UNIFORMS OF THE SYRIAN CIVIL DEFENCE, THE 'WHITE HELMETS' (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PRESIDENT OF SYRIA OPPOSITION'S INTERIM GOVERNMENT, JAWAD ABU HATAB, SAYING: "Of course we know that in Syria's history at the start of the last century we've had (separate) states in Aleppo, Homs, Damascus. They all failed. Now, we won't allow any division in Syria to create statelets. Syria is united, God willing, from its north to its south, the Syrian people in all their groups are one people, but what the gangs are carrying out is all done through extremists who wish to separate or place checkpoints that we will reject once the (opposition) state strengthens. Hopefully we will see this area witness the fall of all these gangs, we reject them and condemn them and we will not co-operate with them at all, they are all rejected." (REPORTER ASKING: "So they won't be represented in the government?") "They won't be represented in the government, this government is built on revolutionary representation, meaning no one will be chosen from the south to the north who has not participated in the revolution. We also rejected the idea of quotas, this government will not carry out quotas, political or otherwise." AUDIENCE AT MEETING
- Embargoed: 22nd November 2016 17:12
- Keywords: Syria opposition administration rebase Azaz Turkey-backed Turkey rebels
- Location: AZAZ, ALEPPO PROVINCE, SYRIA
- City: AZAZ, ALEPPO PROVINCE, SYRIA
- Country: Syria
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00157G4P53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Syrian opposition civil administration announced on Monday (November 7) that it was moving its headquarters from Turkey to Azaz, close to the Turkish border in Aleppo province.
The group, which calls itself the Syrian interim government, is allied with the main opposition political body, the Turkey-based Syria National Coalition, and carries out technical and administrative functions of government in opposition-held Syria.
The group's president told a meeting that they opposed U.S.-backed Syrian armed groups containing Syrian Kurdish fighters taking part in an operation to drive Islamic State out from its Raqqa stronghold.
The groups, operating under the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and which include the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and some Arab groups, began an operation on Saturday (November 5) that they say aims to encircle and ultimately capture Raqqa.
Planning for the Raqqa assault has been complicated by factors including the concerns of neighbouring Turkey, which does not want to see any further expansion of Kurdish influence in northern Syria.
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that using non-Arab elements to drive Islamic State out of its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa would not contribute to peace in the region.
The president of the opposition interim government group, Jawad Abu Hatab, told a meeting in Azaz on Monday that he rejected involvement in the Raqqa operation by the YPG and its allied political party the PYD.
"We have had some communications with some of the brothers in Raqqa," he said.
"In all honesty saying everyone rejects co-operating (with the Kurds). I received letters which state that they will not co-operate with them," he added.
Hatab also said he rejected the partition of Syria.
An SDF spokeswoman said on Monday that once Raqqa is freed from Islamic State, it will be run by a military and a civilian council made up of city's inhabitants.
Turkey views the YPG as having links with the Turkish Kurd militant group the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy.
Turkey's battle against the PKK resumed with a new intensity after a ceasefire collapsed last year and with attempts by Kurdish groups in Syria's war to carve out an autonomous Kurdish enclave on Turkey's border.
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