Ahmad Jarba, a prominent leader of the Syria opposition, made a secret visit to Baghdad where he asked senior Iraqi officials to help him to start talks with the Damascus government, the al-Mayadeen TV reported on January 12 citing Arab officials.
“Jarba is ready to send a delegation to Damascus in order to hold meetings with officials,” al-Mayadeen quoted one of the officials as saying.
According to the Lebanese TV channel, Jarba wants to work with Damascus to establish a tribal force, similar to the Iraqi Tribal Mobilization Units (TMU). The force, which will operate under the Syrian flag, will be formed in the Arab-populated areas in the northeastern part of the country following the upcoming withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Jarba, who leads the Syria’s Tomorrow Movement, is well-known for his strong ties to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He also has strong influence among the Arab tribes in northeastern Syria.
Last month, a report claimed that Turkey, France and the U.S. are working on a plan to deploy fighters-backed by Jarba on the Syrian-Turkish border east of the Euphrates River as an alternative for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). However, the plan is apparently facing many obstacles, which likely encouraged Jarba and his backers to seek Damascus’ help.
A cooperation between the Syria’s Tomorrow Movement and the Damascus government could stabilize the northeastern part of the country and lead to a significant advance in the peace process.