QAMISHLI (Kurdistan 24) - The Syrian regime has reiterated its rejection of rumors it would give Syrian Kurds a measure of autonomy, a senior advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday.
“We are in talks with the Syrian Kurds, but we don’t agree with those dependent on American decisions,” Buthaina Shaban, advisor to Assad, told reporters in reference to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control areas of northeastern Syria and the eastern Euphrates valley.
“Mr. Lavrov [Russia’s Foreign Minister] said the US intends to create an autonomous region east of the Euphrates, but the Syrian people know well how to defend its unity,” she said, commenting that such a move would open the door to the partition of the country.
Since last June, delegations sent by the Syrian Kurdish authorities from much of the north and east of Syria have held talks with the Syrian regime in Damascus and Qamishli, but have yet to reach an explicit agreement.
After the US decision to pull out of Syria in December, Kurdish authorities have presented a road map to Assad in recent meetings with his key ally, Russia, in hopes of striking a deal.
The Kurds want to safeguard their autonomous region within a decentralized state once US troops, currently backing them, pull out.
They also hope a deal with Damascus would dissuade neighboring Turkey from attacking the Kurds.
Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad advised Syrian Kurds not to rely on the United States and suggested he is ready for a dialogue with the Kurds.
“The Americans will not protect you, and you will be a bargaining tool in their hands. Only the Syrian Arab Army can defend you,” pro-government news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying.
Since US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw, the Syrian Kurds have said they are ready to talk to Damascus and Moscow in search of alternatives. However, according to the Kurds, the Syrian government has not made any practical steps in that regard.
Syria’s Kurds also want Russia to act as a guarantor between them and the Assad regime, Ilham Ahmed, the co-head of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), previously told Kurdistan 24.
However, she reminded that Damascus had not made any progress on the proposals at hand.
Editing by Nadia Riva