On July 27, a delegation of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) visited Damascus for talks with the central government on a ceasefire. The visit to Damascus by SDC, the political branch of the militant Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has restored the hopes for reaching an accord with the government of President Bashar al-Assad to put an to the crisis, now in its eighth year
Recent developments in the war-torn country give the Syrian government an upper hand. The army forces have recently liberated the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra from terrorists, and are about to launch a major anti-terror operation to recapture Idlib province from foreign-backed militants. On the other hand, the Kurds have agreed to hand over to government the control of much of the northern regions which they took from ISIS terrorist group, including Hasakah, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo suburbs, facilitating the return of the country’s full territories under the government’s control.
After Syrian army announced it reclaimed the south from the foreign-backed armed groups, news came out that Damascus and the Kurds engaged in negotiations to strike a deal meant to avoid their confrontation. The process raises a question about how a possible agreement to avoid conflict in the north will influence the course of future developments in the conflict-rocked nation.
Alwaght has talked to Dr. Saadullah Zarei, a senior international affairs expert from Iran, to shed light on the issue.
According to the Iranian pundit, such talks bear signs that the crisis in Syria is coming to an end, and that if the government and the Kurds reach a peaceful deal the Americans would experience a heavy defeat that strips them from an important excuses to remain in Syria’s north.
Damascus-Kurds’ ties “based on mutual understanding”
Asked about the Damascus dialogue with the SDF, a coalition of opposition militant groups in which the Kurds are in majority, the Iranian expert said that from the outset of the crisis, the relations between the government and the Syrian Kurds were based on mutual understanding, agreement, and negotiations. But sometimes, the Americans meddled and lied about the future of the country and put the Kurds on a collision course with Damascus. “As we know, the Kurds launched several military operations jointly with the Americans in Deir ez-Zor, Aleppo, and majorly in Raqqa,” Mr Zarei added.
No way but cooperation with the central government
The international affairs expert continued that over the past few weeks that the southern areas were cleansed of terrorist groups and the Syrian army announced its intention to take back Idlib, the armed groups’ last major stronghold, in a sweeping operation the Kurds were left with no choice but talk to President Assad. The new situation, he continued, pressed them to return to their former accords and continue the collaboration. “We can say that the present-time negotiations with the government are natural and predictable. The talks are taking place based on logic and bear the potentials to immensely help a settlement to the Syrian war,” he added.
Finalized deal eliminates US intervention excuses
In another part of his remarks, Mr Zarei told Alwaght that one of the key outcomes of the Damascus-Kurds’ talks is the elimination of the guise under which the White House deployed its forces to the Syrian soil. The Americans are present in northern Syria under the cover of supporting the Kurdish militias. They played with the Kurdish demand for help card so far. But if the two sides’ agreement reaches the finalization stage, the Americas will be left with no choice but pull out of Syria.
No Russian role in Kurdish decision, which means a defeat for the US
Asked about the Russian role in bringing the Kurds on the dialogue table, Mr Zarei maintained that the fact is that the Russians never took an active stance in relation to the Syrian Kurds. No talks took place on the negotiations with Damascus between Moscow and the Kurds. So, the Russians did not sway the Kurdish decision. “The fact that today they are moving to talk to the central government is a result of the failure of the plans projected for the Syrian future.”
He continued that the current developments have created a situation in which any party pressing for friction and escalation of tensions between the two sides will be subject to a big loss. The Americans are the leading opponents of dialogue of Damascus with the Washington-backed SDF. So, the talks and subsequent agreement mean a blow to them.
The final step towards a united Syria
Finally, Dr Zarei was asked about the influence of the dialogue on the future of the war-ravaged nation. He held that the talks exhibit approaching to the end of the war in the country. It can be a grand positive signal to the Syrian refugees to return home, bring stability back to the politics, and ensure territorial integrity. Idlib liberation can even prompt return of the Damascus’ rule over the whole country. That the government can reclaim rule over Aleppo, Raqaa, Deir ez-Zor, and Hasakah without a new battle is a positive happening and marks a big step towards Syrian territorial reunion.