The formation of the Syrian Kurdish Parties Front – European Representation that brings together 11 political parties, was announced today in the German city of Dortmund following two days of inter-party talks.

The front – whose self-defined mission is to seek “democratic” solutions to the issues facing Syria’s Kurds – condemned in its first public statement the violence of the Syrian government’s crackdown on dissent and called on President Bashar al-Assad to stop the bloodshed, lift the imposed state of emergency and release all political prisoners.

Since March 15, nation-wide protests against the Baath Party’s 40-year rule in Syria have continued despite the Syrian authorities’ heavy-handed attempts to suppress them.

President Assad first responded to the protests with vague promises of reform but the violence of the government’s internationally decried crackdown has only fanned the flames of the uprising.

International human rights groups say that more than 1,400 people have been killed by government forces to date, and over 10,000 arbitrarily arrested.

Damascus has repeatedly blamed the violence on ‘terrorist groups’ attempting to destabilize the country’s political process.

Reports from either side are difficult to verify as the government has imposed a ban on all foreign journalists in Syria.

Under the Baath party rule, hundreds of thousands of Syrian Kurds were stripped of their Syrian citizenship.

Against the backdrop of the snowballing public protests against his regime, the Syrian President recently pledged to re-issue Syrian nationality documents for around 300,000 of the country’s Kurds.

Observers believe that Assad’s promise however was an attempt to deter the country’s two to three million Kurds from adding fuel to the uprising.

The Baath party has unilaterally ruled Syria for four decades during which time any form of political opposition has been outlawed.

The Kurds have been one of the fiercest opponents of the Syrian regime since the Baath Party took power nearly half a century ago. Headed by Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez, in 1963, the Baathists imposed an emergency law that effectively suspended most constitutional protection for the country’s citizens.

There are no accurate statistics on the numbers of Kurds in Syria, but unofficial figures suggest there are between two and three million, accounting for 10-17% of the country’s population.

By Roni Alasor