Kurdish National Council to join Syria peace talks in Astana

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Supporters of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) protesting in Qamishli. File photo

ARA News

The Kurdish National Council (KNC) announced on Tuesday that they would attend the Astana peace talks, which are scheduled for January 23. The KNC is part of the Syrian opposition’s National Coalition (SNC).

Fuad Aliko, a leading member of the Kurdish Unity Party (Yekiti), said that Abdulhakim Bashar and Ibrahim Biro have been invited to the meeting in Astana. Bashar is the Vice President of the SNC and Biro is the head of the KNC.

While the Kurdish National Council was invited to the Astana peace talks, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and representatives from the self-administrations in northern Syria were not.

Turkey’s government opposes any form of participation by the PYD, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) or the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara believes that they are all fronts for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

On Monday, PYD supporters protested in Qamishli city against their party’s exclusion, saying any that the Astana conference would not represent the people of northern Syria.

Furthermore, the executive body of the Northern Syria Federation said on Sunday that they were not committed to any resolutions reached in Astana and that they would continue their struggle to establish a federal system.

“We, the Northern Syria Federation’s component Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians and Armenians, consider our exclusion from these negotiations a violation,” the executive branch declared.

The federation reasoned that their “struggle, sacrifices, and the historic progress on the political and social levels” gave them the right “to be present in the Astana meeting.”

“Moreover, the SDF, YPG and YPJ have been the forces liberating vast parts of Syria from terror, making them the most eligible powers to participate in any military settlement,” the body added, in reference to the Protection Units.

Salih Muslim, the co-chair of the PYD, told ARA News in an exclusive interview that the goal of the Russia-sponsored talks is finding a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria.

“The upcoming Astana meeting is aimed at negotiating possible solutions for the Syrian crisis,” the Kurdish politician explained. “However, excluding the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from these talks is a huge mistake.”

Muslim believes that “the SDF is one of the critical players,” whose endorsement would be required for any lasting agreement. He added that holding peace talks “without any participation from the SDF won’t lead to an actual solution.”

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