Syrian Kurdish authorities hold new round of talks with Damascus
HASAKAH (Kurdistan 24) – A Senior member of the Kurdish-led council in northern Syria on Tuesday announced they had visited Damascus for a second round of talks with the Syrian government.
The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) went for new talks with the government on matters of decentralization and the constitution, co-chair Riad Darar told Damascus-based Watan newspaper.
The “long dialogue” included a proposal from Damascus for the de facto autonomous region to take part in the state’s local elections next month, he told Reuters.
The SDC insists on preserving its structure of governance and self-rule in any future elections, he asserted. “The delegation from Qamishlo decided it would return for more discussions.”
A delegation, which included members of the US-backed SDF that currently control roughly a quarter of Syria, held talks with Damascus about two weeks ago in their first declared visit to the capital.
The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels of communication with President Bashar al-Assad’s government as they seek to negotiate a political deal that would retain their autonomy within Syria.
The SDF is spearheaded by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and has expanded beyond its previously-held Kurdish-majority parts in the north of the country. 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 fight to topple him.
Editing by Nadia Riva