Syrian Kurdish leader says regime not serious about dialogue

“The regime still believes that surrender means peace, and they don’t respect the people’s will.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Salih Muslim, the former co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), said fake leaks by the Syrian government show Damascus is not serious with negotiations.

“The fake leaks by the regime apparatus and outlets about meetings and agreements despite north Syria administration’s denial indicates the regime is not serious and unwilling for any solution to rescue Syria,” the former PYD co-head tweeted on Monday.

“The regime still believes that surrender means peace, and they don’t respect the people’s will,” he concluded.

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.

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.

“It has nothing to do with politics,” Nidal Mahmoud, the deputy head of the Municipalities Body in Rojava, said.

A PYD official told Kurdistan 24 that the regime is threatening and pressuring the Syrian Kurds after Turkey took Afrin from the Kurds in March and reached a roadmap deal with the US in Manbij.

“But we have our own project for democracy and our own forces to defend ourselves,” the official said.

Aldar Xelil, a senior Syrian Kurdish leader and the co-chair of TEV-DEM, earlier also denied negotiations took place and called on the Syrian government in an opinion piece for Ronahi on Sunday for a more serious position and dialogue.

“It is better for them to diagnose the challenges and believe that sole governance and imposing issues from one side on the Syrian people is a wrong mechanism,” he said.

“The current crisis is due to the same policy; thus, he needs to approach these problems and be serious toward a comprehensive solution that leads to stability, democracy, peace, security and a plural Syria, and again toward a policy that led disastrous outcomes for Syrians,” he concluded.

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.

The alleged negotiations began after Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, in an interview with the state-run television Russia Today (RT) in late May, threatened to take areas held by the US-backed, YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) by force “should negotiations fail.”

“We’re going to use two methods to deal with the SDF: First, we open doors for negotiations – because the majority of them are Syrians… If that fails, we will liberate those areas [in northern Syria] by force,” he said.

According to pro-government news outlets, the Syrian government is trying to convince Kurdish factions in Syria’s northeast to abandon their alliance with Washington.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany