SDF commander signals visit with Biden team in Washington

The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Mazloum Kobani, has signalled an upcoming visit to Washington with the new administration of President Joe Biden.

Syrian Kurds are happy with the Biden-Harris administration, Kobani told U.S. government funded outlet Voice of America (VoA) on Thursday, raising the prospects of talks between Syrian Kurds and the new U.S. administration.

‘‘We are engaged in talks with the new U.S. administration. I hope we will have a stronger relationship in the coming days and we can begin talks at a higher level,’’ Kobani said.

The SDF, comprised primarily of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), forms the backbone of the U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Ankara sees the SDF and the YPG as offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and says the SDF-controlled enclaves in northeast Syria pose threat to Turkey’s national security. Turkey has launched a number of military operations into the region targeting the group.

Nicholas A. Heras, director of government relations at the Institute for the Study of War, tweeted that the Kobani’s visit would welcomed by many high-ranking Americans, ‘‘including 4-star generals, senior State Department officials and Congress members’’.

Kobani, also known as Ferhat Abdi Şahin, fought for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey in the 1990s and is on the Turkish Interior Ministry's Interpol red notice list.
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