In a first for the region, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Autonomous Administration (AANES), and Democratic Union Party (PYD) received a high-level delegation from the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Bafel Talabani, the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Party, Commander of Combined Joint Task Forces – Operation Inherent Resolve Major General Matthew McFarlane, General Wahab Halabji, head of the Counter-Terrorism Forces in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Brigadier General Claude Tudor, Commander of the Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force – Levant met with high-level civilian and military officials of North and East Syria, including SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi, Newroz Ahmed and Mahmoud Barkhdan, members of the SDF General Command, and Badran Chiya Kurd, Head of the Autonomous Administration’s Foreign Relations Department.

SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi speaks with CJTFOIR Commander Matthew McFarlane

The meeting’s topics of discussion included intra-Kurdish relations, ways to develop dialogue between Kurdish parties, joint efforts to counter the threat of ISIS, and ways to develop stability in the region. 

Talabani said that “The PUK will keep supporting the areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration, and are committed to supporting the Kurdish issue.” 

The visit took place as tensions between Turkey and the SDF have escalated following Turkish strikes at the end of November that targeted military and civilian targets across North and East Syria.