Rival Kurdish groups in Syria make breakthrough in U.S.-backed unity talks

Rival Kurdish groups in Syria have made a breakthrough in U.S.-backed talks on a joint political vision, AFP reported. 

Representatives of the Kurdish National Council (KNC) - a member of the Turkey-backed Syrian opposition National Coalition – reached an agreement on Tuesday with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which dominates a Kurdish-majority region in Syria's northeast and is deemed to be a terrorist organisation by Turkey due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Both sides had concluded “the first stage of Kurdish unity negotiations and reached a binding and unified political vision,” according to a statement cited by AFP.

The sides also pledged to continue talks with the aim of signing a comprehensive agreement in the near future.

AFP said that the PYD's political and military dominance had led to accusations from the KNC that it was consolidating power and marginalising other Kurdish groups.  In 2017, the PYD shuttered the offices of opposition parties, including the KNC, which called the move a political purge.

Their offices were reopened three months ago, and the KNC entered reconciliation negotiations with the PYD in recent months. The negotiations are being supported by the United States, which has backed Kurdish-led forces in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) in northeastern Syria. 

AFP quoted senior KNC official Mohammad Ismail as saying that the latest negotiations aimed to form a joint administration managing political and military affairs, as well as establishing a unified stance on issues such as diplomacy.