SDF commander calls for Syrian Kurdish parties to overcome differences

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander in Chief Mazloum Abdi said that Kurdish parties must overcome their differences in deciding what a future Kurdish administration will look like in northeastern Syria, North Press Agency (NPA) reported on Saturday.  

Abdi made the remarks in a recorded statement to the Rojava Center for Strategic Studies’ forum on “Intra-Kurdish differences, facts and solutions” in Qamishli, it said, where the SDF commander called on the attendees to resolve internal feuding so to create a unified Kurdish position in Syria. 

“All Kurdish parties participated in the intra-Kurdish dialogue should overcome the differences and achieve success,” Abdi said.

He added that there is an agreement on the future shape of an administration, but the internal differences among Kurdish groups remained the primary obstacle. 

The forum was designed to bring together representatives from across Syria’s Kurdish political spectrum. In attendance were representatives of the Kurdish Democratic Unity Party in Syria (Yekiti), Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) and a number of intellectuals. 

Intra-Kurdish talks were sponsored by Abdi in late 2019 with the support of the United States. The SDF leader thanked Washington for its role in co-sponsoring the dialogue, something he said resulted in great progress. 

In June 2020, a political understanding was reached between the main opposition Kurdish National Council in Syria (ENKS) and the PYD-led Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK). 

ENKS representatives were invited to attend the forum but none showed up. Some officials ahead of the conference believed lingering acrimony over the PYNK’s refusal to apologise for burning ENKS offices in the region complicated intra-Kurdish talks.

The AANES was established amidst the Syria’s civil war and during the campaign to recapture the region from the Islamic State (ISIS). 

Abdi is considered a terrorist by Ankara because of his past as a commander in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an armed insurgency in Turkey since 1984.