The Kurdish National Council was founded in Hawler on 26 October 2011, under the sponsorship of KRG President Massoud Barzani, following the earlier creation of the Syrian National Council. The organisation was originally composed of 11 Syrian Kurdish parties, however by May 2012 this had grown to 15. The key difference between the KNC and the SNC is over their approach to the issue of decentralization, with the KNC pressing for Kurdish autonomy, whereas the SNC has rejected anything more than administrative decentralization.
Several KNC parties have also on occasion come into conflict with another Kurdish group, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD. In order to reduce tensions, Massoud Barzani mediated between the two groups in July 2012 at a diplomatic meeting in Hawler. As a result, the PYD joined with the Kurdish National Council to form the Kurdish Supreme Committee along with a popular defence force to defend Syrian Kurdistan. Under the agreement, cities that fall under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces will be ruled jointly by the PYD and the KNC until an election can be held. Despite the agreement before the groups, there remain allegations from the Kurdish Union Party that the PYD has forced buildings run by the KNC, which fly the Kurdish flag, to replace it with the PKK flag, which is used by the PYD. The PYD has apparently been able to do this through intimidation due to the fact that unlike most other Kurdish groups, the PYD is armed, due in part to the fact that it ensures, at times forcibly, that no other groups maintain any significant armed wing like the YPG.