Barzani-backed Syrian Kurdish party denies secret talks with PYD

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Syrian Kurdish politicians leading a demonstration in Derik city. File photo

ARA News

Erbil – The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria (KDP-S) on Monday denied holding secret talks with the rival Democratic Union Party (PYD) after rumours about the talks spread on the social media.

“In this regard, we assure friends and the Kurdish people that there have been no talks between our party, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria, and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), neither in Hewler nor anywhere else,” the KDP-S said.

The party further said they won’t hold any negotiations or talks with the PYD in secret, only in public, and won’t do this without their partners in the Kurdish National Council (KNC).

Several members of the KDP-S are still imprisoned by the security forces of the PYD-led Self-Administration in northern Syria, including Muhammed Ismail, a senior KDP-S leader from Qamishli/Qamislo.

The Kurdish National Council is backed by President Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). The PYD, on the other hand, is backed by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Recently, the KDP and PKK were in discussions about the future of Sinjar and a possible withdrawal of PKK fighters.

So far, the KNC and PYD have not been able to share power in northern Syria, and have been working against each other since the failure of the Duhok agreement in October 2014.

While the PYD has repeatedly accused the KNC of working for Turkey, the KNC has accused the PYD of working with the Syrian government.

Aldar Xelil, a senior head of the Movement for Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), called on the KNC last September to return to Rojava to continue their struggle, but the KNC wants imprisoned members to be released.

In November some KNC members were released after an attempt by former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and former US diplomat Peter Galbraith in a visit to Syrian Kurdistan to repair relations between the KNC and the PYD.

However, in December relations between the two sides worsened again after a local pro-PYD youth group attacked a protest by the KNC in Qamishli.

“We all know that this tension between the KNC and PYD is not resulted just from disagreements on local issues such as administration and who will lead the military forces. What is going on in Rojava is reflection of the historical disagreement between PKK and KDP,” Bader Mustafa, a member of the Kurdish Youth Movement (TCK) told ARA News.

According to Michael Stephens, head of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the PYD refuses any cooperation with the KNC for the support the council allegedly received from Turkey.

“I think the PYD simply resists any type of interaction with the KNC these days because they see them entirely as a Turkish sponsored entity to undermine Kurdish political ambitions. As the conflict north in Turkey has got worse the attitudes have hardened yet further,” Stephens told ARA News.

“Additionally, the KNC’s position is increasingly weakened by the general course of the war in which the mainstream opposition is fast losing to Bashar al-Assad,” he said.

“This has caused a problem for the KNC and heightened tensions between themselves and the PYD at the same time. Ultimately the KNC has fewer and fewer cards to play. And their grip both inside Rojava and in the Syrian opposition more broadly is slipping,” Stephens argued.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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