The Middle East’s Kurdish factions have been conducting meetings in recent weeks to find ways to resolve long-standing differences among themselves. However, they are working from beneath the long shadow cast by Turkey over their discussions as well as their political future.
Several Kurdish factions in Syria met in the city of Qamishli with support from the United States State Department. One Kurdish politician who attended described the conference as taking place in a “positive atmosphere”, but Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), called for all factions to overcome their differences and reach an agreement.
Not everyone was satisfied with this conference. Taking place just before the Qamishli conference were talks between the region’s main faction, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its rival, the Kurdish National Council (KNC). PYD officials told Syria-based North Press Agency that both parties agreed to reach a solution, but KNC officials conspicuously avoided attending the subsequent conference, signalling that differences remain.
Abdulla Hawez, a researcher and expert on Kurdish politics in London, said that these disagreements cast a dim light on the chances of a political breakthrough but it may require an extra push to do so.