(Photo credit: Maya Alleruzzo/AP)
In an act of desperation, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have reportedly extended a hand towards Syria’s opposition in fear of the outcome of a potential Turkish-Syrian reconciliation, and the ramifications that it may have on Kurdish areas of influence, Al-Akhbar reported on 11 January.
In a translated Kurdish statement directed towards the opposition – which was initially released a day after the announcement of the defense ministers’ meeting between Turkiye, Syria, and Russia – the SDF called for “unification in the face of this rapprochement, because it puts the future of our country and the dream of our freedom at stake.”
“Our hand is extended, our minds are open, and our lands welcome every free Syrian who believes that the future of Syria and the freedom of its people have the highest priority over everything else,” the Kurdish statement added.
On 10 January, the SDF met with the leadership of the Washington-based Syrian National Alliance (SNA), an opposition group made up of Syrian exiles residing in the US who believe that Syria should fall under a system of “decentralized federal rule.”
The Al-Akhbar report explains that this meeting came in preparation for the establishment of a political coalition between the SDF and the SNA, and also represent “the first steps to forge similar political alliances with the opposition forces.”
It also adds that this meeting was arranged by Washington as part of its efforts to put obstacles in the way of a Syrian-Turkish rapprochement. By taking advantage of the anxieties that this possible rapprochement represents for both the Kurds and the opposition, the US hopes to remedy its own dissatisfaction with the situation.
As part of these obstruction efforts, the US has attempted to disrupt a Russian sponsored agreement which would allow the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to replace Kurdish militants on the border (as Ankara has requested), thereby allowing Damascus to reclaim territory and regain sovereignty in the north.
In another desperate US attempt at foiling a rekindling of ties between Syria and Turkiye, Al-Akhbar released a newer report on 12 January claiming that Washington is now trying to broker some form of lasting agreement between Ankara and the SDF.
To do this, it has been pressuring its Kurdish ‘ally’ to officially sever all ties with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and clear the areas of Deir Ezzor and Raqqa from Kurdish militants so that they could be overseen by ‘local councils’ made up of Arabs.
According to this newer report, the SDF is “open to the idea of dialogue with Turkiye … [but cannot] accept “concessions of this magnitude.”
There have also been a number of recent meetings between the SDF and representatives of the Damascus government in the city of Qamishli, where they agreed to continue dialogue and to potentially hold further meetings in the capital.
Experts and analysts have suggested that alignment with Damascus is the most viable option for the Kurdish movement in Syria.