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MARCH 2021

Iraqi Kurdistan PM: Syrian Kurds Should Negotiate With Damascus Government


Iraqi Kurdistan PM: Syrian Kurds Should Negotiate With Damascus Government

Nechirvan Barzani

Syrian Kurds should engage in dialogue and negotiations with the Damascus government in the framework of a united Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister, Nechirvan Barzani, said during an interview with Al-Monitor that was published on March 14.

“The reality is that the regime is still there and that the Kurds of Syria should be talking with the regime in order to gain certain rights,” Barzani added.

The Iraqi Kurdish leader said that he believes that if the Damascus government managed to restore its control over entire Syria it will feel confident enough to give Syrian Kurds their rights.

Currently, Syrian Kurds are represented by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDF). The council controls vast territory in northeastern Syria, where it had established a self-administration with direct support from the U.S.

When asked if the Kurdistan Region Government could be a guarantor for a deal between the SDC and Damascus, Barzani didn’t rule out this possibility. However, he said that Russia would be more suitable for this role.

“It’s important for all of us to have a stable neighbor such as Syria, but it’s especially important for Russia. They are very clear on this point. Their strategy is geared toward securing a stable Syria. They can be key players in negotiating a settlement between the Kurds and the regime,” said Barzani.

Regarding the U.S. support for the SDC, Barzani noted that Washington is in Syria only to fight ISIS and that it has never been very clear about its strategy, its policy in the war-torn country.

“Kurds will probably not wait for too long and they recognize the American presence for what it is, a temporary one,” the Kurdish leader added.

The SDC resumed its talks with Damascus following the U.S. decision to withdraw all of its troops from Syria last December. However, the Kurdish-dominated group stepped back after the recent shift in the withdrawal decision, especially when the Washington announced that it will help establish a safe zone in northeastern Syria.

Barzani’s advice to Syrian Kurds will likely go unheard, as the SDC is still pinning its hopes on a long-term U.S. military presence in its areas.

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