Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

SDF Troops Joining Army Forces Preconditioned by Crisis Settlement

SDF Troops Joining Army Forces Preconditioned by Crisis Settlement

Monday, 20 August, 2018 - 10:00
Kurdish families from Iraq traveling the Simalaka river crossing to Syria (AFP)
Beirut- Nazeer Rida

Syrian Kurdish sources confirmed that the chances of the Syrian Democratic Forces opposition factions joining Syrian government forces are linked to several factors that are not yet made clear, namely the future of Syria and its ruling regime.

This comes at a time SDF troops are fighting off ISIS terrorists in the East Euphrates.

On Sunday, several media outlets reported a statement by the head of the SDF Executive, Ilham Ahmed, saying that SDF troops were expected to join in one form or another the Syrian army in the future.

Ilham Ahmed told BBC Arabic on Saturday that the US-backed SDF would join the Syrian regime forces in the future. Ahmed stressed that the oil areas in the eastern Euphrates will remain under the protection of Kurdish forces until a Syrian settlement is found.

The statement followed the first declared visit to the capital by members of the SDF, which controls roughly a quarter of Syria.

SDF’s political wing went to Damascus two weeks ago for a second round of talks with the regime.

The second round of negotiations dealt with the issues of decentralization and the constitution.

Kurdish sources said the issue of services is vital and very important to be resolved, saying that oil and gas produced in SDF-controlled areas must go to all Syrians, which is already being done, as well as agricultural crops.

Nevertheless, Kurdish sources stressed that the military file was not discussed in Damascus, noting that other meetings will soon be held.

The visits highlight efforts by the Kurdish-led authorities to open new channels to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, as they seek to negotiate a political deal that keeps their autonomy within Syria.

Kurdish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the SDF will not remain an independent force in the future, but also said the future of Syria is decided when there is a sustainable settlement of the Syrian crisis.

But sources stressed at the same time that the accession will not take place if regime forces remain in their current form and functions.

However, sources did not rule out that the SDF in the future will have a special position in areas it liberated from terror hold.

The SDF is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia. The SDC insists on preserving its structure of governance and self-rule in any future elections.

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