New coalition formed to fight Islamic State

A woman fighter in the YPG forces.
A woman fighter in the YPG forces.

A Kurdish-Arab coalition fighting the Islamic State (IS) has announced the creation of a new political wing after a two-day conference in al-Malikiyah, in northeast Syria.

The formation of the Syrian Democratic Council was approved on Thursday and consists of Democratic Union Party (PYD), the largest Kurdish group, and its armed wing, the YPG.

The PYD was not invited to a separate Syrian opposition meeting that ended in the Saudi capital, Riyadh on Thursday. The groups’ allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), were not invited to Saudi Arabia either.

“The participants agreed on the creation of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political branch of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” a statement issued at the end of the conference read.

The SDF, formed in October, groups the powerful Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) with smaller Arab and Christian armed groups in a coalition intended to confront ISIL.