Jun 02 2019

Commander says Syrian Kurds ready to negotiate with Turkey, Syrian regime

Commander-in-chief of Syrian Kurdish forces on Saturday said they were open to dialogue with both Turkey and the Syrian regime, Kurdish news agency ANHA reported.

"We do not want war in our regions. We are in favour of solving problems through dialogue. Whether with Turkey or the Syrian regime, we are ready to dialogue with all parties," said the commander-in-chief of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazlum Kobane.

The SDF provided ground forces in the international coalition against Islamic State (ISIS). Yet, Ankara sees the SDF as the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil for Kurdish self-rule. 

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly pledged to reclaim all of Syria, including the territory in northern Syria controlled by the Kurdish forces.

In his first major communication since the mid-2015 breakdown of the peace process between the PKK and the Turkish state, last month, the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan issued a statement calling for a negotiated solution to the Syrian conflict, urging the SDF to commit to diplomacy and work toward unity in Syria. 

"With the paradigm of the leader Öcalan, we defeated the terrorist and fascist the IS ideology. For this reason, we believe that Leader Öcalan will have a big role in the solution of the Syrian crisis," Kobane said.