1490 Syrian politics and public figures will be invited to the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Conference in the Russian city of Sochi, the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik reported on December 21.
The list that was passed by Russia to Turkey and Iran to study it during the 8th round of the Astana talks. It includes the names of 23 representatives of the Syrian Kurds.
Sputnik reported that Turkey had given its initial approval to the list. However, it requested more time to study it. Several Turkish officials had stressed on many occasions that the Turkish side does not want representatives of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to attend Sochi conference. Turkey considers it the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
From its side, Sihanouk Depo an official of the PYD said that the Kurdish party will attend the Sochi conference, according to Reuters. Badran Jia Kurd, a senior Kurdish official, and Jia Kurd, an adviser to the administration that governs Kurdish-led autonomous regions of Syria, also claimed that the PYD is still invited to the Sochi conference.
“We will attend Sochi and every other meeting that concerns the Syrian crisis as representatives of the people’s will,” Depo told a PYD-affiliated news outlet on December 20.
However, it’s still unknown if the PYD was indeed included in the Russian list, especially after the clear Turkish rejection and the recent tensions between Damascus government and the PYD. Syrian pro-government activists believe that the PYD will not be serious during the Sochi conference, as in the end it is only committed to the US plans in Syria.
Several Syrian and Russian sources reported that the Sochi conference could be held between January and February of 2018. Different Syrian sides are expected to discuss the future presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria, as well as the country’s new constitution during the conference.