At a meeting of Syrian political-intelligence officers in late April in the Kurdish northeast, the only item on the agenda was Sheikh Mohammed Mashouq al-Khaznawi. He was becoming a problem for Syria, says a Western diplomat familiar with the meeting.A moderate Islamic cleric who once worked with the Syrian government to temper extremism, Sheikh Khaznawi was emerging as one of its most outspoken critics. He advocated Kurdish rights and democracy, galvanizing many of the 1.7 million Kurds against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. At the same time, Kurds were gaining political power in Iraq, Lebanon was casting Syrian troops out, and the US was criticizing Syria’s government. Full Story
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