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

Kurds Make ‘Secret Offer’ to Damascus

Kurds Make ‘Secret Offer’ to Damascus

Saturday, 5 January, 2019 - 07:45
Members of the People's Protection Units (YPG) gather in the town of Shadadi. AFP file photo

The top commander of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Sipan Hemo, has recently visited Damascus and Moscow to make a “secret offer” on the group’s approval to hand over the border area with Turkey to the “Syrian State” in exchange for forming a local administration under Russian guarantees, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.

The sources said the YPG is aiming to strike a deal on “filling the gap” following the US decision to withdraw from Syria, and to also cut off any Turkish interference in the north and northeast of Syria.

Days after US President Donald Trump’s decision more than two weeks ago to pull US forces out of Syria, Hemo traveled to the Russian military base in Hmeimim, then held a secret meeting in Damascus with Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk and Defense Minister Gen Ali Abdullah Ayoub, in the presence of a Russian military delegation, the sources told the newspaper.

Also, on Dec. 29, while a high-ranking Turkish delegation, led by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Moscow, Hemo met with Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov in the Russian capital.

The YPG stressed in its message to Damascus the need to avoid repeating the mistake committed in Syria’s Afrin.

The Kurds had lost control of the northwest canton of Afrin after an assault by the Turkish military and its proxy fighters.

The Kurdish group expressed willingness to hand over the border area of east Syria to Bashar Assad’s forces and allow the “Syrian State” to have sovereignty there.

The YPG’s offer came as the US administration worked on speeding up arrangements for the withdrawal of its troops from Syria.

Washington is arranging for the visit of White House National Security Adviser John Bolton to the east Euphrates area following talks expected in Ankara next Monday, and before his scheduled trip to Tel Aviv.

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