Excluding SDF from Astana peace talks ‘huge mistake’ says Syrian Kurdish leader

Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-leader Salih Muslim

The co-leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Salih Muslim has said it would be ‘huge mistake’ to exclude the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the upcoming solution talks in Astana.

Muslim told Syria-based news agency ARA News on Monday, that the Russian sponsored talks in Kazakh capital Astana aimed at finding a political solution to the Syria crisis, would not be successful without their participation.

“Excluding the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from such talks is a huge mistake,” Muslim said, adding “without any participation from the SDF it won’t lead to an actual solution.”

The Kurdish leader said their expectation from the talks was a ceasefire “to stop the bloodshed,” but that a solution could only be found within Syria. “The real Syrian political solution must come from power centers [in Syria],” Muslim said.

The SDF are a multi-ethnic alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters and groups leading the fight against the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) group in Syria. The 50,000 strong force is also supported by the US-led global coalition to counter IS.

The PYD is viewed as the most influential political party in Rojava-Northern Syria and is a member of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), a polyethnic coalition governing the region.