Syrian Kurdish opposition party says no final agreement on Kurdish unity yet

"The Kurdish National Council will share the content and the accomplished results of the negotiations with our people at an appropriate time."

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The presidency of the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) on Wednesday rejected reports circulated on social media that contained details of the joint understanding between the KNC in Syria and the Kurdish National Unity Parties (parties allied to the Democratic Union Party, PYD) that was announced earlier.

“Some social media outlets have circulated fabricated news alleging details of the understanding signed by the Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYD and its partners), and the Kurdish National Council (KDP-S and its partners),” the KNC presidency said in a statement.

“The reports include what these sources claim to be ‘details of the joint understanding, and the terms of the agreement on governance, political, and military fields,’” it added. “The Presidency of the Kurdish National Council confirms that these reports are unfounded, and the current negotiations do not address the claimed topics.”

“Publication of this fabricated information is solely an attempt to create confusion. The Kurdish National Council will share the content and the accomplished results of the negotiations with our people at an appropriate time.”

The KNC and the Kurdish parties allied with the PYD reached an initial understanding for Kurdish unity in Hasakah on Wednesday and said their talks would continue based on the 2014 Duhok Agreement.

A statement from the US embassy in Syria on Wednesday welcomed the preliminary understanding as “an important step toward greater understanding and practical cooperation, which will benefit the Syrian Kurdish people as well as all Syrian components.”

The embassy said both sides would use the Duhok Agreement “as a basis for ongoing unity talks that will cover governance, administrative cooperation, and protection.”

The joint statement released on Wednesday also underlined that they only reached a common political vision and understanding, and no agreement.

However, both parties said dialogue would continue and no final agreement was reached to share political power in northeast Syria.

During the announcement, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander-in-Chief General Mazloum Abdi said the understanding was the result of three months of talks between the two sides. “We believe this will be a strong base for a national Kurdish agreement in Rojava [Syrian] Kurdistan.”

“We believe today’s understanding will allow a national unity in Rojava to be established, and that in turn, will bring about the unity of all Syrian components.”

The PYD and the KNC, the two major factions among Syrian Kurdish parties, renewed negotiations in early November as a result of an initiative by Commander Abdi to resolve long-standing disputes after Turkey’s cross-border offensive in northern Syria in October 2019.

Tensions between the KNC and PYD have increased since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, with the latter playing a significant role in the establishment of the self-administration that has ruled northeastern Syria. 

The two dominant Syrian Kurdish factions have not successfully cooperated as had been hoped, in part because agreements they reached in Duhok and Erbil between 2012 and 2014 were never effectively implemented.   

However, this time, the United States was directly involved in the SDF’s initiative to unite the Kurdish parties.

“The US is the mediator for this dialogue, and they guarantee the implementation of this agreement,” KNC presidential council member Nimet Dawud told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday.

US Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, Ambassador William Roebuck, who supported the talks, said during the announcement that the Kurdish parties “made progress that will benefit the Kurdish community in the future.”

“I believe we can build on this for broader dialogue to include all of the components in northeast Syria,” he added.

The US official also thanked Commander Abdi, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) President Masoud Barzani, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani “for their strong support for Kurdish unity.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany