ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A spokesperson for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Wednesday denied reports that the Syrian army raised a regime flag over a district under the control of Kurdish Asayish forces.
The online newspaper al-Masdar reported that the Syrian army raised their flag over the Nishwah District in the provincial capital on Tuesday.
The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdish Asayish forces took control of the Nishwah District after the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) retreated from the area in 2015.
“It is not true that the regime raised a flag over the Niswah district in Hasaka,” Kino Gabriel, the official spokesperson of the SDF, told Kurdistan 24.
He described the reports in the media as “negative propaganda spread by the regime” and other groups associated with it “to interfere in the general atmosphere of the area and to make problems and create such kind of chaos in the area in general.”
Last week, pro-government news outlets in Syria claimed an agreement was struck between the Kurdish authorities in the country’s north (known as Rojava) and the central government in Damascus after the former took down their flags in the cities across the region.
“I can say that almost all those reports are false,” Gabriel added.
Kurdish officials in Rojava who previously spoke with Kurdistan 24 denied any agreement with the government and explained a new move to remove flags and symbols was part of an administrative decision to organize and regulate roadside advertising.
Salih Muslim, the former co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), on Monday said fake leaks by the Syrian government show Damascus is not serious about negotiations.
Moreover, in a tweet on Tuesday, he blamed the pro-Syrian government al-Watan newspaper for spreading lies.
“The al-Watan newspaper is the source of all rumors that is aiming to weaken the attitudes and opinions leading to a solution for Syria,” he said.
“It spreads lies on meetings never held and without sources. If it [al-Watan] is connected to Syrian intelligence, this is real proof the regime isn’t serious.”
Nicholas A. Heras, a Middle East security analyst at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, told Kurdistan 24 that the Syrian regime is unable to challenge the presence of US forces on the ground, and, therefore, tries to spread fake news.
“The Assad government does not yet have the strength to overcome the US-led Coalition and the SDF through force. Instead, Damascus has to use subversion and information warfare to undermine the Coalition and the SDF.”
“Bashar al-Assad is trying to master the whispers of looming US withdrawal from Syria to create a movement to support his regime against the SDF. In this way, Assad is trying to win without war in eastern Syria,” he concluded.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany