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Kurd-Arab council ready for 'unconditional talks' with Syria regime

AFP  |  Qamishli (Syria) 

The political arm of a powerful alliance of Syrian Kurd and Arab fighters announced today it was ready for unconditional peace talks with the central government in

The (SDC) is linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed militia that holds much of the country's north and east.

Those areas are outside regime control, and most are managed by autonomous Kurdish-run administrations that the regime sees as a challenge to its authority.

In a statement today, the SDC said it was committed to resolving Syria's deadly conflict through dialogue, and would not "hesitate to agree to unconditional talks".

"It is positive to see comments about a summit for Syrians, to pave the way to start a new page," it said.

Leading SDC member told AFP that both the council and the SDF "are serious about opening the door to dialogue" with the government.

"With the SDF's control of 30 percent of Syria, and the regime's control of swathes of the country, these are the only two forces who can sit at the negotiating table and formulate a solution to the Syrian crisis," he said.

The comments are the latest in a string of developments indicating an attempted rapprochement between the regime and Kurdish authorities, in an effort to head off a clash.

Last month, Syrian warned Kurdish forces he could use force against them, if he was not able to take their territory through talks. Several days later, a delegation from Syria's tolerated domestic opposition made a rare visit to Qamishli, most of which is held by Kurdish forces linked to the SDF.

A Syrian Kurdish told AFP at the time that the delegation was trying to play a mediating role between local autonomous authorities and the regime.

subsequently said the government was informally talking to the Kurds but that negotiations had not yet started.

It was not immediately clear what kind of talks the SDC or the government have envisioned. Neither the SDC nor Kurdish bodies have ever been independently invited to take part in peace talks hosted by the

has recaptured more than half of the country, and the SDF is the second most powerful force with just under a third of Syrian territory. Much of the territory currently under SDF control was captured during a US-backed military campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group.

Residents in SDF territory have expressed fear that an eventual US withdrawal could cost them their biggest ally and weaken their hand.

But Habib said he expected all non-Syrian forces to leave including the Americans.

"We are looking forward, in the next phase, to the departure of all military forces from and the return to Syrian-Syrian dialogue," he told AFP.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 21:35 IST
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