TABQA, Syria (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish self-administration in north Syria is ready for negotiations with the regime of Bashar al-Assad but only with the involvement of international mediators and with certain guarantees, a Syrian Kurdish political leader said on Monday.
Salih Muslim, a senior member of the ruling council of Syria’s northeast Kurdish areas, told Kurdistan 24 that reports by pro-regime media regarding negotiations or of the administration's forfeiture of territory to the government were not accurate.
“The dialogue that took place in Tabqa a few days ago pertained to the service sector on an administrative level for the Euphrates Dam, and has nothing to do with political negotiations,” Muslim said.
He also commented that the regime was not serious in their negotiations with the self-administration as it was simultaneously spreading incorrect and misleading news in its state-run media.
Muslim's comments on the potential political scenarios for the region came at the third congress of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the main council in the area and the political wing of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), established in October 2015.
The SDF is spearheaded by the Syrian Kurdish YPG forces and has expanded beyond its previously-held Kurdish-majority parts of the north. Its territory now includes the city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s (IS) former base of operations in the country, and the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, on the Iraqi border.
The self-administration in the country’s northeast has said it wants the Syrian conflict to end with a decentralized system that secures rights for minorities, including Kurds.
The SDF and its leading component, the YPG, have mostly avoided conflict with Assad during the seven-year war, setting them apart from rebels in western Syria who fought to topple him.
Editing by John J. Catherine
(Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih conducted the interview in Tabqa)