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Syrian Kurdish parties resume talks, in secret

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For the first time since Oct. 28, 2019, when Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazlum Abdi announced an initiative to resolve inter-Kurdish differences, the Kurdish National Council (KNC) and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) kick-started secret, direct talks. The initiative is seemingly designed to include all the Kurdish parties in the PYD-ruled autonomous administration in northeast Syria, paving the way for the autonomous administration to join the UN-sponsored negotiations in Geneva to end the Syrian conflict.

Despite the stakes involved, success is not guaranteed given the tense political relations between the two negotiating parties following years of political conflict and media spats. The KNC is an official part of the Istanbul-based Syrian opposition in exile, while Turkey views the PYD, which espouses the ideology of the Abdullah Ocalan-led Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as its top foe in Syria. Meanwhile, the PYD is also part of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political arm of the Kurdish-led SDF fighting alongside the US-led international coalition.

Speaking to Al-Monitor on the condition of anonymity, an informed official source revealed the origins of the negotiations process. “The first direct negotiating round between the KNC and PYD was held in early April at a US military base on the periphery of Hasakah, in the presence of the US special adviser to the global coalition forces in Syria, William Roebuck, and SDF commander Mazlum Abdi.”

The attempted détente is reportedly taking place under US supervision. Roebuck has had multiple meetings with the KNC in the past three months to discuss developments in the Syrian arena and to support the initiative to unify Kurdish ranks in Syria.

At an April 25 press conference in Qamishli, Abdi said, “Remarkable progress is being made in the process to unify the Kurdish ranks. The parties, the PYD and the rest of the political parties are being responsive to the initiative.”



Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/04/syria-kurdish-talks-united-states-reconciliation-dispute.html#ixzz6LEBCiqri
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