U.S. backed Kurds seek to normalize relations with Damascus

Kurdish-led groups who were part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State and control swathes of northern Syria have revived contacts with the regime in Damascus in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn-country. These groups are keen to stave off any Turkish attack, after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced growing understandings between Ankara, Tehran and Moscow on joining forces to fill the vacuum that will emerge after the American withdrawal. Contrary to Cavusoglu’s statement, however, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad revealed that Russia has established a channel of dialogue that will bring about Assad’s control over the border-region with Turkey. According to him, “We thank our Russian friends for their role in this matter. Their role is good and it aligns with what Syria wants in implementing the international resolutions in order to maintain Syria’s territorial and societal unity. In this regard, as I have said, contacts and active discussions have increased with the Kurds due to the challenges we’re facing to our territorial integrity in northern Syria.” / “Now matters are reaching their conclusion, and if some Kurds claim that they are an integral part of Syria and committed to Syria’s unity, then they need to commit to this and act in a way that shows this is their goal. Therefore, I am always optimistic, and we need to encourage these political groups to be sincere in the dialogue that is happening now between the Syrian state and these groups, taking into account that there is no alternative to that.” A senior Kurdish politician in Syria confirmed that ‘the Kurdish groups had presented a “road map” for a deal with Damascus during recent meetings at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.’