Despite holding materially the entire Hasakeh Province and some territory in nearby Aleppo Province, the Kurdish YPG will not be participating in this week’s Syrian peace talks. According to Saleh Muslim, the leader of the YPG’s political wing, the PYD, they were not even invited.
Russia had been pushing hard for the inclusion of the Syrian Kurdish faction, which is also closely allied with the US, saying it was “counterproductive” and “unfair” to exclude them and saying a deal was impossible without Kurdish involvement.
Turkey, however, threatened a last minute boycott of the talks if the Kurds were invited, saying they are a “terror group” and could not be allowed at the talks in any fashion. The UN confirmed it sent a list of invites out, but refused to say who was invited.
We do know who wasn’t: the Kurds, and indications are that the invitations among rebel factions are heavily along the lines of those who participated in the Saudi-based rebel talks, which would mean the rebels involved will be overwhelmingly Arab and heavily Islamist, leaving minorities almost wholly sidelined.