Assad rejects talks with ‘traitor’ Kurds amid Turkish assault
The Syrian regime’s deputy foreign minister, Faisal Miqdad, said on Thursday that Kurdish-led forces currently under attack by Turkey had betrayed their country, saying that their ‘separatist agenda’ had given Turkey an excuse to “violate Syria’s sovereignty”.
When asked whether the Assad regime should engage in dialogue with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have previously received backing from Washington, Miqdad stated that these “armed groups had betrayed their country and committed crimes against it.”
“We won’t accept any dialogue or talk with those who had become hostages to foreign forces ... There won’t be any foothold for the agents of Washington on Syrian territory,” Miqdad told journalists in his office in Damascus.
A Kurdish official said earlier this week that the Kurdish-led authorities in northeastern Syria could open talks with the Assad regime and its main backer, Russia, to help with security in the event of a withdrawal of US forces from the Turkish border area, where Turkey wants to oust Kurdish militias from.
A top military commander also said that one option for the Kurds was to give territory to the regime.
The powerful Kurdish YPG militia was assisted by the Assad regime in taking control of Kurdish towns and cities in the early days of the conflict, as the regime focused its attention on brutally suppressing popular protests against President Bashar al Assad’s rule that later turned into an armed conflict.
More than 500,000 Syrians have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas.
The YPG has never fought the Assad regime, and has even allowed it to maintain a presence in the largest city it holds, Qamishli.
Oil sales from the YPG to the regime are one of its main sources of income.
However, the Assad regime does not want to officially give Syrian Kurds the kind of autonomy they seek. Earlier this year it threatened military action against the Kurds if they don’t surrender to its authority.