ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A Russian-sponsored Syrian peace congress has been postponed after objections from Turkey regarding the involvement of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson said on Sunday.
The congress, scheduled to be held on Nov. 18, has been delayed after Turkey complained about the inclusion of the PYD, Reuters reported.
A new date has not been set yet, but the Syrian Kurdish group will no longer be involved in the peace congress, President Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin stated.
“Russia told us that the meeting has now been postponed and that the PYD will not be invited,” Kalin told broadcaster NTV in an interview.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Moscow was working on “dates, [a] venue, [and] the participants’ lineup,” while Reuters reported that the list of expected participants, which had included the Kurds, has since been removed from the Ministry’s website.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, and emergence of the Islamic State (IS), the Kurdish PYD has established itself as one of the leading players in the region.
Last week, the head of the Kurdish group said they looked forward to participating in the peace congress in the Russian Black Sea city of Sochi which Moscow said would “focus on a new constitution.”
The PYD’s armed affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have been instrumental in the defeat of IS, and have been the United States’ main ally in Syria.
Turkey, however, views the PYD and YPG as offshoots of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which Ankara, as well as Washington, considers a “terrorist organization.”