Saudi officials are making much of their conference of Syrian rebel factions, being held this week in Riyadh. The effort to secure unity among rebels, however, is significantly undermined by the large number of rebel groups excluded, including every Kurdish group.
Undaunted, the Kurdish YPG and other factions have decided to hold their own conference in the Hasakeh Province, saying they’re also inviting Assyrian Christian groups and some secular Arab factions that were excluded from the Saudi talks.
Interestingly, the Saudis deny excluding the Kurds, though the YPG’s political wing has reiterated that they’ve still not received any invitation, and nor does any other Kurdish faction appear to have gotten one.
By contrast, the Saudis did invite Ahrar al-Sham, an al-Qaeda ally.which has been getting significant Saudi financial support. Other rebel groups are complaining the Saudi conference aims to legitimize Ahrar al-Sham while sidelining the moderate factions.