SDF to be 'abolished' under Kurdish-Syria deal: reports

SDF to be 'abolished' under Kurdish-Syria deal: reports
The deal will give the Kurds full autonomy and safeguard their rights in the new Syrian constitution, reports said, in return for coordinated efforts to confront Ankara's offensive.
3 min read
14 October, 2019
Syrian Kurds had few other options to stop the rapid advance of Turkish troops [AFP]

Political issues were not discussed between Syrian regime and Kurdish officials, Reuters reported on Monday, after a "groundbreaking deal" was reached between the two sides on the deployment of government troops near the border with Turkey.

A top Syrian Kurdish official said a "preliminary deal with Damascus is limited to the army's deployment along the border and the two sides will discuss political issues later",  which comes after Turkish launched an offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF].

Badran Jia Kurd told Reuters the deal is for regime forces to enter border areas from the town of Manbij to Derik in the northeast.

The Kurdish-led authority was forced to look for ways to protect the region after the US "gave the green light" for a Turkish offensive into the region by withdrawing its troops from the north, he said.

Reports on Monday alleged that a deal between Kurdish officials and Damascus would lead to the abolishment of the SDF and the integration of fighters into the Russian-led 5th Corps.

The deal between the Kurdish authority and Bashar al-Assad's regime would allegedly give the Kurds full autonomy and safeguard their rights under a new Syrian constitution, according to the reports.

In return, the Kurdish and Arab fighters would coordinate with the regime to confront Turkey who have launched an offensive with Syrian rebel fighters into SDF territories.

"Within one month Kurdish leadership with start to take up some official roles within the current Syrian government to ease the transition period of N. #Syria until an new constitution/government is formed in the future," Syria analyst Danny Makki tweeted on Monday.

Syrian regime forces are set to take positions on the border from Derik up to Sere Kaniye (including Qamishli) and from Tel Abyad up to Qamishli, reports said.

Regime soldiers were sent towards the Turkish border on Monday to block Ankara's deadly offensive against Kurdish forces, stepping in for US troops who are withdrawing from the region.

Outgunned and without US protection, the autonomous Kurds in northeastern Syria had few other options to stop the rapid advance of Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies.

Turkey wants to create a roughly 30-kilometre (20-mile) buffer zone along its border to keep Kurdish forces at bay and also to send back some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it hosts.

The US and its partners - who spent years fighting the Islamic State group in Syria before deserting them - have condemned the Turkish offensive but their threats of sanctions have failed to stop the assault.

The chaos in the areas targeted in the six-day-old Turkish military campaign has already led to the escape of around 800 foreign women and children linked to IS from a Kurdish-run camp, Kurdish authorities said.

"In order to prevent and confront this aggression, an agreement has been reached with the Syrian government... so that the Syrian army can deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to assist the (Kurdish-led) Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)," it said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The Kurdish administration did not give further details on the agreement or say whether they would compromise Kurdish self-rule in the north. 

SDF chief Mazloum Abdi acknowledged "there would be painful compromises" with the Assad government and its Russian allies, in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.

"We do not trust their promises. To be honest, it is hard to know whom to trust," he wrote.

"But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people." 

Marginalised for decades, Syria's minority Kurds carved out a de facto autonomous region across some 30 percent of the nation's territory after the devastating war broke out in 2011.

When the Islamic State group swept across the region in 2014, the SDF was formed and mounted a fierce defence of the Kurdish and Arab areas and became the US-led coalition's main partner on the ground. 

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