Masrour Barzani calls on Syrian political factions to reach ‘common understanding,’ secure rights for Kurds

“Chancellor Barzani stressed the need for political factions [in Syria] to reach a common understanding aimed at securing the rights of the Kurdish people.”
author_image Kurdistan 24

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A senior Kurdish official on Wednesday called on political groups in Syria to arrive at a mutual agreement on the rights of Kurds in the country.

Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), made the comments in a meeting with Maj. Gen. Patrick Roberson, Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Commanding General.

This was the second meeting between Roberson and Barzani in three weeks, and it came as the US is working out its plan to withdraw US forces from Syria, as President Donald Trump ordered in mid-December.

Trump recently suggested that some of the US troops now in Syria, could be moved to Iraq. “Senior American officers recently visited several Iraqi bases, including Erbil and Al-Asad Air Base as well as smaller ones closer to the Syrian border,” the New York Times reported on Sunday. It may well be that this issue was discussed in Wednesday’s meeting.

A statement on the KRSC website affirmed that both sides “reviewed progress in the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria.”

“They also discussed developments in Syria,” it added. “Chancellor Barzani stressed the need for political factions to reach a common understanding aimed at securing the rights of the Kurdish people.”

Tensions between the Syrian Kurdish factions have increased since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, during which the Democratic Union Party (PYD) established a self-administration and a military force known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG.) The YPG became the leading element in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main US partner in fighting the Islamic State in Syria.

Reportedly, one element in the US program for leaving Syria is to promote pluralism in the areas now under SDF administration to help ensure political stability. So far, the PYD has dominated to the exclusion of other parties.

Masoud Barzani, former President of the Kurdistan Region and current leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), previously mediated between the PYD-led ruling council of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and the Kurdish National Council (known as the KNC or ENKS.)

Three agreements were concluded. The first, the Hawler (Erbil) I Agreement, was reached in Erbil in June 2012. The second accord, the Hawler II Agreement, was concluded eighteen months later, in December 2013, also in Erbil. A third understanding, known as the Duhok Agreement, was signed in Duhok in October 2014.

However, none of the agreements proved enduring, because of political disagreements between the two blocs. Possibly, the US departure from Syria will now create an added impetus to reconciliation among the Kurdish parties there.

Editing by Laurie Mylroie