January 19, 2017
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) held a second Congress in Darbasiyah, Syria. During the Congress, the Co-President of PYD Salih Muslim criticized the exclusion of Kurdish representatives in the Astana talks about Syria’s future.
Muslim described the Astana talks as “the implementation of the agenda of regional powers rather than the aspirations of the Syrian people.” “The talks,” Muslim said, “are doomed to failure.” The PYD Co-President reaffirmed his party’s commitment to continue establishing a political solution in Syria. He stated: “We want the people of Syria to become decision-makers for a democratic Syria for all.”
“[Organizers of the Astana talks] do realize that we are demanding freedom of people and building a free democratic Syria,” continued Muslim.
The Astana negotiation is organized by Russia in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana in an attempt to reach an agreement between the parties in conflict in Syria’s civil war. Pro-Turkey armed Islamic groups, the Iranian regime, Turkey’s government, and the Syrian regime are participating in these talks. The new U.S. administration is invited to the talks, but a decision has yet to be made by them.
Turkey demanded the exclusion of Kurdish PYD in order to participate in Astana talks. Previously Turkey had the same stance when they demanded the exclusion of the Kurds during Geneva peace talks sponsored by the United Nations in February of 2016.
The PYD is the major Kurdish party within the Northern Syrian Federation that govern the Kurdish region. Prior to the Astana talks, the PYD as part of the Syrian National Democratic Coalition expressed willingness to participate in the peace talks under the conditions of “participation of all secular and democratic Syrian forces without any exclusion of any of these national forces.” Recently, the U.S. Department of State’s Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said: “The fact that the YPG is – YPD, rather – is a force on the ground, is a representative group, and their voice will need to be heard in any kind of long-term solution to the situation in Syria.”
In March of 2016, the Kurdish PYD and in cooperation with secular Arab and Christian parties announced the Northern Syria Federation. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is the military forces for the northern federation. Currently, the SDF is liberating ISIS de facto capital of Raqqa in the operation called “Wrath of Euphrates,” which is backed by the U.S. led international coalition.