Syria’s Assad says Syrian Kurds should not rely on US

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday advised the Syrian Kurds not to rely on the United States, and also suggested he is ready for dialogue with the Kurds.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday advised the Syrian Kurds not to rely on the United States, and also suggested he is ready for dialogue with the Kurds.

“The Americans will not protect you, and you will be a tool for bargaining in their hands. Only the Syrian Arab Army can defend you,” pro-government news agency SANA quoted Assad as saying.

“When we stand in one trench and aim in the same direction instead of aiming at each other, no threat can make us worried no matter how big,” he added during a speech at a meeting for the heads of local councils in Damascus. 

Assad also suggested his government was ready for dialogue with the Kurds, a claim the Syrian Kurds have repeatedly denied.

“Dialogue is necessary, but there is a difference between the proposals that create dialogue and others which create a partition, and we should focus on the common things,” he noted.

Additionally, Assad claimed the attempts to “apply a comprehensive decentralization” are aimed at undermining “the authority of the state.”

This “partition scheme isn’t new, and it doesn’t stop at the borders of the Syrian state, but it covers the region as a whole,” he stated.

Nevertheless, the Syrian president highlighted the role the local administrations play in Syria and underlined the effectiveness of law 107. Syrian Kurds reject law 107 and want their local administrations recognized instead.

Since US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal decision, 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 taken any practical steps.

“There were only statements in the media [by Syrian government officials] about dialogue,” the senior Kurdish official said. “Dialogue is good for both of us, but in practice, nothing has changed.”

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of the Arab League, called on Damascus to “moderate its position” and effectively withdraw its stated ambition to recover the territory it still does not control, The National reported.

Gheit underlined that the SDF should be supported to establish control over their own territories, and rejected plans to create a Turkish or international safe-zone in northeast Syria.

On Monday, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergey Vershinin said Moscow supports dialogue between Assad and the Kurds, AFP reported.

“If there are no foreign troops on the ground of Syria’s northeastern part, I think that the best solution would be to start up a dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus,” he said.

In a statement on Feb. 11, the SDF’s Military Council said they had discussed the future of relations with the Syrian government after the Islamic State’s defeat and the upcoming US withdrawal from Syria.

The statement underlined the need “to find a solution through dialogue in the framework of a unified Syria.”

However, it underlined the need to respect the special status of the SDF forces, and the constitutional recognition of the Kurdish-backed Democratic Autonomous Administration for northeast Syria (DAA).

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany