Divided Syrian Kurds reach deal in face of ISIS threat
By RUDAW yesterday at 06:16
DOHUK, Kurdistan Region – Syrian Kurdish parties agreed here on Wednesday to set aside their long-standing differences and cooperate militarily and politically in face of an Islamic State onslaught in their region.
In the presence of Massoud Barzani, the Kurdistan Region’s president, who sponsored days of negotiations in Dohuk, the deal was agreed between the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the dominant party in the Rojava region of Syrian Kurdistan now under attack, and other parties that are closer to the KRG.
The groups agreed to set up a 30-member power-sharing council to run the Kurdish cantons in Syria. They would also form a joint military force, sources familiar with the talks told Rudaw. The main PYD and pro-KRG elements would have 12 seats each. The PYD had been accused of dominating the autonomous cantons politically and militarily to the exclusion of other factions.
Barzani told the new allied Kurdish parties, after the deal was reached, that it was an indication of the victory of Kurds over their long term enemies.
According to the official Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) website, he said: “This agreement brings us together, and itself is a significant answer to enemies who did not not intend the Kurds to be united.”
The Dohuk agreement came as the Kurdistan Regional Parliament in Erbil overwhelmingly approved a proposal to send its Peshmerga to support under-armed Kurdish fighters in the Syrian border town.
The Syrian Kurdish parties were previously at odds over the PYD’s declaration of autonomy in Syrian Kurdistan in 2012 and last year. The PYD, linked to Turkey’s banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, was also previously hostile to the KRG because of Erbil’s close relationship with Ankara.
But the ISIS threat has forced the parties together. Salih Muslim, head of the PYD, whose People’s Protection Units (YPG) are defending Kobane, said in Dohuk earlier this week: “All Kurdish people are under attack, so they should be united.”