A deal between the Damascus government and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) over northeastern Syria is “inevitable,” a senior commander in the Kurdish-dominated group said during an interview with the France-Press Agency (AFP) on January 5.
“Reaching a solution between the autonomous administration and the Syrian government is inevitable because our areas are part of Syria,” Redur Khalil told the AFP.
The Kurdish commander also revealed that negotiations between his group and Damascus to reach a final formulation for administering the northern city of Manbij are showing some “positive signs.” Kahlil said that if a solution was reached there, it could be applied to the SDF-held areas in the governorate of Deir Ezzor.
“We still have some differences with the central government, which need negotiations with international support,” Khalil said.
Kahlil added that Russia could be a guarantor of any agreement between the SDF and Damascus and he does not rule out the possibility of deploying the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) along the border with Turkey.
Last month, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is the core of the SDF, announced its withdrawal from Manbij and called on the SAA to protect the city from Turkey’s threats. The army responded within few hours and deployed a large force in the outskirt of the strategic city.
At the end of the interview, Kahlil stressed that the SDF will not withdraw from the Kurdish areas in northeastern Syria. However, he said that group could be integrated into the SAA under a future agreement.
This new reaility in the relations between the SDF and the Damascus government is mostly a resul of Donald Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn country. Currently, Washington is trying to manipulate the decision in order to maintain military presence there. If this happens, the SDF will likely back away from any deal with the government as it had done before.