US-backed SDF ready for dialog with Syrian government: Officials
The so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of mainly Kurdish militants that maintains a grip on northeastern Syria, is reportedly prepared to hold talks with Damascus over the future of the territory under its control.
Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, the SDF’s political wing, suggested on Wednesday that time may be ripe for negotiations with the Syrian government.
She also noted that a Damascus-based political group had visited the Kurdish-led administration to “start a dialog.”
“We are seeking … a vision that ends the war,” she said. “We want to secure our (self-administration) project and the Americans care for that too.”
Additionally, Aldar Khalil, the co-chair of the Movement for a Democratic Society, a coalition of mainly Syrian Kurdish parties, said talks with Damascus were meant “to develop a Syrian-Syrian solution and close the door on conflicts and wars.”
He further expressed his party’s readiness to send a delegation to “test the waters” and see whether the Syrian government is ready to accept an autonomous Kurdish area in the country’s northeast.
The remarks came less than a week after Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said his government had two options in dealing with the SDF issue: first, negotiations and second using force against the Washington-backed militants.
Syrian President Bashar Assad says the US ‘is losing its cards,’ among them the al-Nusra Front terrorist group, and thus ‘should leave’ the Arab country.
“We don’t have any other option. So, this is our land, it’s our right, and it’s our duty to liberate it, and the Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave,” he said.
The SDF’s backbone, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), has also been a source of tensions between Turkey and the US, which both are military active in Syria despite the Damascus government’s calls for them to leave Syrian soil.
Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group and an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but the US considers the Kurdish group an ally in Syria.
Turkey and the US reach a consensus to withdraw Washington-backed Kurdish militants from Manbij in a bid to restore security to the Syrian city.
The US angered Turkey by announcing a plan for the formation of a Kurdish militant force in Syria near the Turkish border, prompting Ankara in January to launch a military operation against the US-backed militants.
In March, Turkey seized the Syrian city of Afrin and threatened to expand its offensive to Manbij.
However, earlier this week, Turkey and the US agreed a plan on the withdrawal of the (YPG), from the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
In the wake of the deal, the YPG announced that it will take its advisors out of Manbij.