On December 22, Russian presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev told the Russian news agency Interfax that the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) was not included in the list of participants in the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Conference, that will be held in the Russian city of Sochi.
Officials of the PYD claimed on December 20 that the PYD was invited to the Sochi conference. Moreover, Sihanouk Depo, an official of the PYD, confirmed to the pro-Kurdish media that his party will attend the Sochi conference.
The exclusion of the PYD from the Sochi conference can be considered as a huge blow to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), that’s mainly led by the PYD. The US-backed force that’s controlling more than 25% of the Syrian territory is now excluded from all talks on Syria, including the UN-backed Geneva talks.
The Turkish Anadolu Agency confirmed in a report on December 22 that Turkey was the side that vetoed the involvement of the PYD or the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or any other linked groups in the upcoming Sochi conference.
However, several Syrian experts believe that Syrian Kurds will be represented in Sochi, by figures that is not linked to the PYD, the PKK or even the SDF. Such maneuver will allow the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition to bypass the SDF, not only in Sochi , but also in Geneva in the future.
The final statement of the 8th round of the Astana talks revealed that Sochi conference will be held on January 29 and 30. A preliminary meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran will be also held in Sochi on January 19 and 20, according to the statement.