Syrian Kurds call on Assad to accept call for dialogue

“The statements and accusations made against us that claim we seek to divide Syria are untrue and unrealistic.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish-backed, multi-ethnic Self-Administration of North and East Syria on Sunday called on the Syrian government to accept a call for dialogue and consensus in response to comments Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made last week.

In a statement on behalf of the administration, Abdul Hamid Al-Mehbash, co-chair of the Executive Council of the Administration, said the administration had “no objective to divide Syria.”

“The statements and accusations made against us that claim we seek to divide Syria are untrue and unrealistic,” Mehbash added.

Assad told Russian media on Friday that he rejected any form of autonomy, but admitted that the political situation in the country had changed.

“Today, all these American-supported groups claim that the situation has changed after the war—of course, the situation has changed,” he said.  

“It is normal that every war will result in a lot of changes in society.  However, war doesn’t mean dividing the country or moving toward separation.”

Mehbash, meanwhile, said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the self-administration have, in fact, “blocked the attempts to divide Syria.”

“For eight years, we have been fighting the occupying forces, ISIS mercenaries, and the Nusra Front to protect the soil and unity of Syria,” he underlined. “This victory is a pride for all the people of Syria.”

“Just as we have no intention of dividing Syria, everyone should also stay away from thinking that Syria would return to eight years ago. It is better to accept the other and develop a solution with each other.”

Aron Lund, a fellow with the Century Foundation, told Kurdistan 24 that he does not think Damascus “has any interest in recognizing any form of SDF autonomy in legal terms.”

“They may come to a deal that means SDF leaders and even some SDF governance structures are incorporated into the system in practice, but they’re going to want to do it in a way that looks like it’s happening in accordance with Syrian law.”

However, the self-administration said they are in favor of a “democratic Syria in which all peoples enjoy their identity and rights,” adding that the components of northern and eastern Syria “are ready to carry out their duties and assume their responsibilities.”

“As components, we have already decided to defend our land and our dignity until the last moment. Syria will not become stable until the end of the [Turkish] occupation and withdrawal from our land.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany