ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Syrian government is open to negotiations with its Kurdish population over the demand for autonomy within Syria’s borders, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem said Damascus could sit with the Kurds and listen to their demands once the Islamic State (IS) was defeated, Reuters reported, citing Syrian state news agency SANA.
“This topic is open to negotiation and discussion, and when we are done eliminating [IS], we can sit with our Kurdish sons and reach an understanding on a formula for the future,” Moualem explained.
On the Kurdistan Region’s Monday independence referendum, the Syrian foreign minister said his government did not think the vote was legitimate, adding Damascus supported the territorial unity of Iraq.
Moualem noted the Kurds in Syria “want a form of autonomy within the border of the Syrian Arab Republic.”
The Kurds in Syria have established autonomy since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Syrian Kurds have reiterated their aim is to maintain that freedom as part of a decentralized Syria and don’t want to seek independence like their brothers in the Region, according to Reuters.
Last week, Kurdish authorities in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) held elections to choose local community leaders.
The elections were the first stage of a three-phase process that will conclude at the start of the New Year with the appointment of a parliament.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) make up a large majority, have been at the forefront in the war with IS.
Earlier in the year, Moualem said the Kurdish battle against the extremist group was “legitimate” and suggested an “accommodation could be reached with the Syrian Kurds.”
Editing by Ava Homa