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Damascus ‘optimistic’ they’ll reach deal with Kurds

By Rudaw 9/1/2019
A Syrian girl looks on as aid items to cope with the winter weather are delivered to al-Hol camp in Hasakah governorate in northeastern Syria on January 7, 2019. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
A Syrian girl looks on as aid items to cope with the winter weather are delivered to al-Hol camp in Hasakah governorate in northeastern Syria on January 7, 2019. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The government in Damascus is optimistic they will reach an agreement with Syria’s Kurds, a senior official said on Wednesday. 

“I feel that we must always be optimistic. The past experiences were not encouraging. But now matters are reaching their conclusion,” Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said, Reuters reported. 

The Kurdish-Arab alliance of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and armed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) control more than a quarter of the country including oil-rich areas of Deir ez-Zor province, the farmlands of Hasakah province that is known as the breadbasket of Syria, the city of Raqqa, the Kurdish area of Rojava, and long stretches of borders with Turkey and Iraq. 

They have largely avoided confrontation with the Syrian regime throughout the civil conflict; Damascus even retains a presence in the city of Qamishli.

The SDF have gained control of much of their territory backed by the US-led coalition as they ousted ISIS from lands the jihadis once ruled over. America now wants to pull out, leaving the Kurds exposed to an offensive by Turkey, who considers the Kurdish forces a terror group with ties to the PKK. 

The SDC tried negotiating with Damascus in the summer, but those talks fell apart when the Syrian regime reportedly demanded too much. The SDC is advocating for federalism and decentralization. 

Faced with a threat from Turkey, however, the SDF invited the Syrian army to protect Syrian lands and the SDC resumed talks with the regime. 

“Reaching a solution between the autonomous administration and the Syrian government is inevitable because our areas are part of Syria,” said senior SDF commander Redur Khalil last week. 

Deputy Foreign Minister Mekdad said these sorts of statements make conditions favourable for returning SDC-controlled lands to the state. 

“We encourage these political groups to be sincere in dialogue that is happening now between the Syrian state and these groups, taking into account that there is no alternative to that,” he said. 

Russia, a key ally of Damascus, has reportedly been helping to broker a deal. Kurdish officials visited Moscow, as did Turkey, and Russian military police are now patrolling areas around Manbij, between the SDF and the Turkish-backed forces. 

While the political discussions make progress, the SDF continues to hand ISIS defeats on the ground in the Euphrates River valley of Deir ez-Zor province. 

But the spokesperson for the force said they cannot let up the pressure and need ongoing support from their allies. 

“The Syrian Democratic Forces are committed to the war against terrorism, but ISIS continues to be a dangerous adversary with the ability to launch counterattacks and coordinate terrorist operations within liberated areas,” Kino Gabriel said on Wednesday. 

“We need continuous combined military and civilian support to ensure the final and lasting victory of ISIS,” he said. 


victory | 9/1/2019
To suggest that what a Syria's government and the kurds and the Russians ,and Iranians all have in common is that ,they all would prefer to unify their fight against the last remaining alcada muslim brotherhood affiliated fsa terrorists in idleb and in afrin mbecause an islamist turkey has lied to them all and has failed in their mission . another words no one would ever feel safe living in idleb in afrin while the islamist terrorists continue to have a safe haven in these regions . to suggest that a unifying Syrian home grown front against the foreign islamist fsa alcada muslim brotherhood affiliated terrorists last remaining safe havens is achievable ,and a islamist turkey is unwittingly being used to achieve this unification at the fastest pace possible ,as related to what the islamist terrorists have turned an idleb and an afrin into with the help of the daesh islamist turks and their caliphate ottoman empire inspired delusions for the region . the caliphate has been destroyed and the hard core daesh islamists have now lost 150,000 of their own followers (87,000 executed by Russia and Syria .and probably another 75,000 or more by america and Iraq and the kurds etc.) thanks to the incompetent military guidance of the islamist turk regimes leaders, for their proxy daesh islamist fighters inside a Syria .
bob | 10/1/2019
Drilling Oil Wells and Farming need PROTECTION first . And Dilling Oil Wells and Farming is what all sane (NOT MAD) people want .....PROTECTION then RECONSTRUCTION . Is what all sane people want . but ? what to do with the MAD PEOPLE ... ? .
4th Duke of Norfolk | 10/1/2019
we kurds suck at politics, we should concentrate on what we do best. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRR
Des | 10/1/2019
A kurdish region in Syria just like the one in Iraq would be in the best interests of the west. A region free of western hate, religious fanatism and terrorism. Rojava would act like a buffer region protecting Europe and all vulnerable minorities in the region, where democracy and western values would be welcomed just like in the Kurdish region of Iraq. Why in God's name doesn't the United States support this? The west and the US should Stop appeasing dictators and regimes that only wish their destruction and instead focus on helping their true friends, the Kurds!
Pete | 11/1/2019
@ Des - "A kurdish region in Syria just like the one in Iraq" is the last thing Rojava wants. Ethnic nationalism is the problem, not the answer, and Rojava represents the complete opposite of your suggestion. Rojava is polyethnic, and Syrian.
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