Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. File photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Damascus is open to discussions with Syrian Kurds about the formation of an autonomous region within Syria’s borders, the country’s foreign minister said in an interview with Russia Today.
“They want some kind of autonomy within the borders of the Republic of Syria and that issue is open for negotiation and talks,” Minister Walid al-Moualem said in an interview published by Russia Today on Monday.
He stressed, however, that talks would happen only after ISIS is defeated in the country. Then they can “sit with our Kurdish sons and reach an understanding on a formula for the future.”
Kurds formed the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria stretching across three cantons commonly known collectively as Rojava.
On Friday, they held a vote to elect communal representatives, the first of three planned elections. They will hold local and provincial elections in November, followed by a parliamentary vote in January.
Abdulqader Azuz, an advisor to Syria’s Council of Ministries, told Rudaw in July that the Syrian government considers the elections "illegitimate" and the region "illegal."
The armed Kurdish force YPG are a key ally in the war against ISIS, currently battling the terror group in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor with backing from the US-led international coalition and under the flag of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
In Deir ez-Zor, mere kilometres separate the SDF from the Syrian army and its pro-government militias backed by Russia. Both have recently claimed they have come under attack by the other as they race to take control of the province rich in oil and gas.