The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party, one of Syria’s oldest Kurdish parties, believes that efforts to normalize relations between the Damascus regime and Ankara came at Russia’s request and Iranian encouragement in wake of the summit held between Russia, Türkiye and Iran in July.
Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party politburo official Ahmed Sulaiman said they have called for dialogue with Bashar al-Assad's regime to “resolve the Kurdish issue for which we have strived for.”
However, the regime’s resorting to the military option “has complicated the scene.”
In an interview to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sulaiman acknowledged the need to “reassure” Türkiye that the situation in Syria is not a threat to its national security.
The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party was formed in 1957. It has been striving politically for years to resolve the Kurdish issue as part of a comprehensive political solution in Syria. This lies in the transition to a pluralist democratic system that recognizes Kurds in the country and grants them their legitimate rights. Party officials have over the past 11 years of war held direct talks with regime officials to help reach their goals.
“Perhaps any breakthrough in relations between Ankara and Damascus will favor the Syrian regime above all else,” Sulaiman told Asharq Al-Awsat from Qamishli.
“We support having normal relations between Syria and neighboring countries, including Türkiye,” he added.
Contrary to what Turkish officials claim, the situation in Syria does not pose a threat to their national security, he went on to say.
At the same time, resolving the situation in Syria must not take place at the expense of the Syrian people, especially the Kurds, he stressed.
“We all know that Türkiye’s first and last demand is preventing the resolution of the Kurdish issue in Syria. Should Ankara reach understandings with Damascus, it will insist that the Kurds lose all their administrative and military gains and limit the power of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF),” said Sulaiman.
After the battles in Ain al-Arab in 2014, the occupation of Afrin in 2018 and Ras al-Ain and Tall Abyad in 2019, and the migration of thousands of Kurds to neighboring countries and Europe, Kurdish forces should have preserved their independent political decision-making to protect their cause, he remarked.
They should have kept a distance from regional and international meddling in Syria, he added.
Kurdish parties may have made tactical gains, but they squandered potential opportunities to resolve the Kurdish issue, he lamented. The issue is now at the mercy of regional and international interference in Syria.
“Therefore, any solution these international parties may reach over Syria will take place at the expense of the Kurdish people and their rights in the country because they are viewed as the weakest link and least influential on these parties,” he explained.
The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party had since the eruption of the war been calling for direct negotiations and dialogue with the regime.
Sulaiman said: “We have called for dialogue with the regime to discuss possible solutions, especially regarding the Kurdish issue.”
“The regime, however, opted for the military solution and complicated the possibility of reaching a national solution,” he added.
“Even worse, it opened its arms wide for foreign meddling,” Sulaiman remarked.
Asked if the Progressive Party had held direct meetings with regime and government officials, he replied that such talks were held in Damascus.
The last of these meetings was held in April, revealed Sulaiman.
“We believe that dialogue with the regime demands united Kurdish ranks and a common position over the rights of the Kurdish people,” he went on to say.
“This is why our party visited Damascus. The talks focused on the mechanisms needed to open serious channels of dialogue and understand the regime’s position clearer and its vision of addressing the crisis and resolving the Kurdish issue in specific,” he stated.
“Resolving the Kurdish issue lies in Damascus. Without reaching this conviction, there can be no real solution to the issue in Syria,” he declared.
“We welcome the role played by the United Nations and international mediations, especially Russia’s influence through its close ties with the regime,” he said.