Personal comments: I met with the FCO Syria and Turkey desk recently. The mythology seems to be that PYD does not accept the Syrian National Coalition’s position (which is important to them because UK has all its eggs in that basket). I argued that PYD is past of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change and is unlikely to come under SNC because of SNC’s reluctance to take Kurdish issues seriously – because of its own roots. If NCB and SNC were to work together then PYD would clearly be part of that. UK was effectively party to splitting the Kurdish block to disempower them and promote SNC, which is immoral!
There are other arguments- the criticism of under 18s fighting. PYD policy is that these people should not be on the front line and if there are errors made it is not because of policy.
I argue also the proportionality issue – PYD and YPG will make mistakes as do others but in this situation, it is disproportionate to focus on minor issues and sacrifice the key points. Kurds are holding ISIS at bay and need to be supported
To support KRG instead in the expectation that they will appropriately do the right thing is a false economy when Barzani is in Turkey’s hand, which Turkey abuses its own Kurdish population every day
Saleh Muslim should be central to any negotiations and he is not, he’s sidelined. He has answers the points above but the Policy does not change. It does not benefit Turkey for UK to support PYD/YPG and in my assessment that is the bottom line and it is an immoral stance to take.
I have been in dialogue with FCO for 8 years. I take the approach that they need certain information to make proper decisions and they may not be tuned into the appropriate channels. Having passed on information and opinion e.g. about Turkey’s blatant support for ISIS; and my opinion then this becomes part of their thinking too albeit they may ignore it. There are so many levels – i tell them that I think they are protecting their relationship with Turkey at the expenses of the Kurds but even if they see this I don’t expect them to acknowledge this. It’s worthwhile including MPs into the debate