A US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has agreed to work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government towards a “democratic, decentralised Syria” after preliminary talks in Damascus.
A delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) – the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance – arrived in Syria’s capital earlier this week, in what was their first official visit there at the invitation of the government.
In a bid to cement their autonomy in the war-torn country, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) said on Saturday they would form committees and chart a “roadmap” in coordination with the Assad government.
There was no immediate confirmation by Damascus, and the period of negotiations is expected to be long.
The SDC’s statement comes after Assad, who is backed militarily by Russia, threatened to recover the swath of northern and eastern Syria controlled by the alliance – a development the SDF has said will only lead to more devastation and destruction for Syrians.
SDF’s capturing of ISIL’s Raqqa ‘came at cost of city’s destruction’
The SDF was formed in 2015 to defend Syria’s northeastern region from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and other armed groups. Using American weapons, it managed to seize control of between 25-30 percent of Syria, including areas with rich oil and gas reserves.
Their political wing has long pressed for Syria to be divided along federal lines and made up of autonomous cantons in various regions.
In January, the SDF lost the city of Afrin to Turkish-backed rebels. Despite