Assad’s statement on Kurds could be message to Turkey: official

<p style="text-align: left;">A senior official from a local Kurdish-led self-administration in northeast Syria told Kurdistan 24 in an exclusive interview at a conference in Vienna on Friday that recent comments on Kurdish groups made by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be part of an effort to reach out to Turkey.</p>

<p style="text-align: left;">Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian media on Thursday last week that Kurdish-led groups in the nation’s northern regions cannot work with the United States while at the same time trying to reach an agreement with Damascus. <br /> The Syrian president also claimed, “There is no such [Kurdish] cause in Syria,” due to the fact the Kurds in Syria were refugees fleeing Turkish oppression are not originally native to the country.<br /> “Once again, with his new statements, Bashar Assad intends to deny the Kurdish question, and that [Damascus] will not engage in dialogue with the Kurds,” said Deputy of the Joint Presidency of the Executive Council of Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Bedran Çîya Kurd.<br /> “Therefore, he wants to continue with the old mindset when approaching the Kurds. This is not a new subject; we know that Bashar Assad and the Baath regime have always thought of Kurds in this manner,” he told Kurdistan 24 on the sidelines of a conference on the future of northern Syria that took place in Austria’s capital that was organized by European Parliament member Andreas Schieder. <br /> The senior official suggested that it’s possible that Damascus is trying to send a message “to remind Turkey that they also do not allow the Kurdish question, so there could be a Syrian-Turkish agreement against the Kurds and their existence.”<br /> It could also mean, he continued, that Damascus is threatening to military attack the Kurdish-led, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).<br /> “Another meaning could be the fact that he wants to remind the Kurds of [the] Syrian government’s recent advances near Idlib, threatening to operate in the eastern Euphrates [areas] afterwards; and there is no need to negotiate with the Kurds or accept their rights.”<br /> Kurd stressed that Assad’s statement was not only “dangerous,” but also unproductive, adding, “If Bashar Assad has a vision for Syria’s future, and if he wants to help secure a solution, then he must not issue such statements. Instead, he could offer a political project for resolving all Syrian issues, including the Kurdish question.”<br /> Furthermore, president Assad also accused the Kurds of not “firing a single bullet” when the Turkish army and militias it backs invaded northern Syria in October, agreeing instead to withdrew from areas now occupied by Ankara in a ceasefire deal with the US.<br /> He said that Syrian Kurdish forces did, in fact, resist Turkey said that Damascus is simply not yet willing to “do anything” in areas like Bab and Azaz now under Turkish control.<br /> “The Syrian government’s narrative of ‘fighting Turkish invasion in Syria’ is not true. The Kurds were and have been in the fore frontlines of the fight against the Turkish invasion. It was the YPG [People’s Protection Units], SDF and Autonomous Administration who resisted Turkey’s aggression, and they sacrificed many lives in that fight, in Afrin, Serekaniye and Gire Spi.”<br /> He underlined that the SDF has fought since the beginning against the “terrorist groups” which Turkey supported in Syria, “Yet we have not seen significant actions from Damascus against Turkish occupation in Afrin, Serekaniye, Gire Spi” nor anywhere else in Syria.<br /> “If the regime in Damascus is asking us to clear our position towards Turkish occupation - having mentioned the fact above - we have the legitimate right to ask Damascus to clarify its stance when it comes to Turkish occupation in Syria.”<br /> Moreover, Kurd suggested that Assad hopes to revive the anti-Kurdish Adana Agreement signed by Damascus and Turkey of 1998, which allows Turkey to enter five kilometers deep into Syrian territory if it deems that Turkish security is threatened.<br /> Reporter's code: 50101</p>

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