In this interview with Rudaw, deputy head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Farouk Tayfour says that opposition groups are meeting in Istanbul today to form an interim government for Syria. Tayfour believes that the Kurds are either siding with the regime of Bashar Assad or that they are divided among themselves. He says the Muslim Brotherhood wants to solve the Kurdish question in Syria and he hopes the Kurds join the main opposition to topple the regime in Damascus.
Rudaw: The Syrian opposition is meeting in Istanbul today to form an interim government. Do you think it will be a successful meeting?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: This meeting is mainly to have all parties nominate their candidates to head a new interim government, and the three existing Syrian opposition councils have a bigger chance in leading this government.
Rudaw: Will the Kurds have a footing in that interim government, given the fact that the Kurdish Supreme Council is not taking part in the meeting?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: Until recently there were negotiations between the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and the Kurdish National Council (KNC). But it was always the KNC that withdrew from the talks and wasn’t willing to become part of the SNC. Even at the beginning of the revolution in Syria, some Kurds would clearly support the regime of Bashar Assad.
Rudaw: The Kurdish Council says that the Syrian opposition isn’t willing to meet their demands, that’s why they avoid the mainstream opposition.
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: I’ve attended many rounds of negotiation between the Syrian and Kurdish councils and I believe it was the attitude of the Kurdish council and their leaders that kept them away from the Syrian opposition. They could have acted differently. The Kurds have more than 40 parties in Syria, some of them side with the Syrian regime and the rest are not united among themselves. But I hope they can unite their stance and become part of the Syrian National Coalition.
Rudaw: What is the answer of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to the Kurdish demand for federalism in Syria?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: The Muslim Brotherhood is part of the Syrian opposition and clearly calls for a just solution for the Kurdish cause. Once the Assad regime is gone and there is a new parliament, that parliament will decide how to solve the Kurdish question.
Rudaw: What is the Muslim Brotherhood’s position towards the Democratic Union Party (PYD)?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: We are against any kind of alliance with the Syrian regime. We have a clear call goal is toppling that regime. Whoever answers that call is our ally and whoever rejects it, is our enemy.
Rudaw: Are you worried that the group of Jabhat al-Nusra that was branded as a terrorist organization by the US might gain strength and dominate the Syrian opposition at some point?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: Former head of the SNC, George Sabrah once said that all the guns are at the moment pointed at the Assad regime. Once that goal has been achieved, a national army, which will include all the different armed groups including Jabhat an-Nusrah, will be formed.
Rudaw: It is said that the Muslim Brotherhood has dominated the Syrian opposition and that even the technocrat and academic figures in the council are only another side of the Brotherhood coin. What do you say to that?
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: Those who work with us know very well that that is not true. Our participation rate in the Coalition doesn’t exceed 10 percent. It is not in our capacity to control the Syrian opposition.
Rudaw: It is said that this interim government would be formed under the auspices of the United States and Russia.
Mohammed Farouk Tayfour: No one owns Syria except the people of Syria themselves. The people of Syria will not ask anyone for permission to form a government just as they didn’t ask anyone’s permission to start the revolution.