1 August 201315:43

Comment of Maria Zakharova, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, as regards the next taking of Kurdish hostages by extremists in Syria

1516-01-08-2013

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On July 31, mass media started to report that Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Djebhat an-Nusra, terrorist groupings allied to Al-Qaeda, took about 200 civilians from Kurdish villages Tel'eran and Tel Hasel near Aleppo as hostages. Tel'eran was occupied by "jihadists" the day before. Local Kurdish militia in blocked Tel Hasel continue to resist.

We have already paid attention to the activation of radical Islamists in regions of Syria bordering Turkey mostly populated by Kurds. Suffering a defeat from Syrian government forces in Homs, near Damascus and in the south of the country, militants aimed their stroke at the Kurdish minority, evidently pursuing the aim to split Syria based on ethnicities and religions. Their actions seem to revenge Kurds having different political views, who have not allowed to involve themselves into the military conflict in Syria, independently enforcing order in places of its compact settlement.

In the period of Ramadan, sacred month for Muslims, extremists have closely started to implement their known plan of creation of an Islamic emirate exclusively with sharia laws in the areas controlled by them. Kurds did not want to subject themselves to such order and drove the alien militants from earlier occupied populated areas, including Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad at the Turkish border. Extremists responded by terror: taking and killing of civilians, shooting attacks to towns and villages, detonation of landmines and mined cars, destruction of local government buildings. At the beginning of current week Isa Huso, eminent person of the Supreme Council of Syrian Kurds (SCSK), was killed in Qamishli, after which Kurdish parties appealed to the youths to join community defence volunteer squads.

The situation in Syria is complicated by the fact that neither the National Coalition of Syrian Opposition (NC) nor the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have not responded to the appeal of Kurdish leaders in SAR to start jointly combating extremists. Moreover, according to some data, FSA units interact with Islamists in the Kurdish line and involve representatives of Arab tribes living in these regions, in particular Shammar tribal confederation into confrontation with Kurds.

We decisively denounce attacks of radicals on local Kurdish population. We consider their actions to be committed for the purposes of provoking ethnic and religious hostility, break-up of the unity of Syria and security in the entire region. We intend to consistently attain that Syrian authorities and all the opposition groups, which include SCSK representatives, undertake joint obligations to liquidate or remove from Syria all terrorist and extremist organisations allied to Al-Qaeda during the International conference on Syria.

1 August 2013

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