Kurdish commander talks 'without confidence' to Syrian regime, Russia

Kurdish commander in talks with Syrian regime, Russia but 'has no confidence'
2 min read
03 November, 2019
The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces says that only “the political path” can solve Syria’s problems and that he is talking to the regime and Russia.
Mazloum Abdi expressed distrust of Russia and the regime despite negotiations [Getty]

The commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said he mistrusted both the Syrian regime and Russia, but said in remarks published on Saturday that he would follow "a political path" for the sake of peace.

Mazloum Abdi, also known as Kobani, told Italy's La Repubblica newspaper that future negotiations required guarantees from the international community, including Europe.

Read more: US betrayal pushes Kurds into clutches of regime

"We have no confidence, but it's not possible to solve Syria's problems without using the political path. We must negotiate," he said.

Until the United States pulled out of Syria the SDF, whose members are for the most part Kurds, enjoyed the support of a Washington-led coalition in its fight against the Islamic State group.

In the current negotiations, Abdi said Russia was acting as an intermediary between his group and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"We will not be party to an agreement that does not include the defence of our people and its political, administrative and cultural liberty," he cautioned.

He said there had also been talks with the US government which had "offered guarantees but there is a certain slowness in applying these guarantees on the ground".

He condemned the US decision to pull out of Syria, saying the move gave "the green light for the Turkish attack against our people" and violated agreements between his group and Washington.

The United States last month announced a pullout from Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria, allowing Damascus, Ankara and Moscow to carve up the Kurds' self-proclaimed autonomous region.

Asked about Turkish President Recep Erdogan's wish to have him arrested, Abdi said "what else do you expect from a person who doesn't hide from the world his project to massacre our people".

Turkey and its Syrian proxies on October 9 launched a cross-border attack against Kurdish-held areas, grabbing a 120-kilometre-long (70-mile) swathe of Syrian land along the frontier.

The incursion killed hundreds and caused 275,000 people to flee their homes in the latest humanitarian disaster in Syria's brutal eight-year conflict, which began in 2011 when the Assad regime suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations.

Turkey and Russia then struck a deal in Sochi for more Kurdish forces to withdraw from the frontier on both sides of that Turkish-held area under the supervision of Russian and Syrian forces.