Syrians hold up banners of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart President Bashar al-Assad. AP file photo.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - A Russian delegation in Syria has told Kurdish and government representatives that establishing a federal system in the country is the only way to prevent Syria's partition, Kurdish diplomats who attended the meeting told Rudaw.
It also suggested that the country’s official name be changed from the Syrian Arab Republic to the Democratic Republic of Syria, the diplomats said.
"Only federalism can preserve Syria's unity as a country," the leader of the Kurdish Left Party in Syria, Salih Gado, told Rudaw, quoting Russian mediator Colonel Oldvornikov Alexandrovich, who is also the commander of Russian forces in Syria.
"The Russian delegation showed strong support for a federal system in the country and had a road-map to achieve that," said Gado, who represented the Kurdish administration at the September 17 meeting at the Hmeymim air base, south of Afrin city.
"I think it could be a historical achievement if it is realized. The Kurdish movement in Syria has not been able to secure such gains in the past 60 years," Gado said.
Russia has showed strong support for Kurdish inclusion in the Geneva talks over the Syrian conflict in March this year. It insisted that any future solution would require Kurdish participation. Moscow also is one of few European capitals that officially hosts a Syrian Kurdish office.
"The future of Syria is no longer in the hands of the government, the opposition or the Kurds. It is decided by the Russians and Americans," Gado said, believing that Moscow has Washington's blessing in establishing the federal system in Syria.
"The Americans do not want to confront Turkey or the Gulf states over Syria's partition, which is why they have delegated this role to the Russians and shown them the green light," Gado added.
But not all Kurdish factions are willing to rely on the Russian support; some question Moscow's sincerity.
Syrian Kurdish party official Ahmed Qasim told Rudaw the Russians could effectively push Damascus to declare a federal system in the country, even without Kurdish participation.
"Russia could take up this question with the regime since the real power is still in the hands of the country's president, who could easily change the system in Syria," Qasim said.
"But I'm afraid Moscow is not serious about their proposal," he added.