US-backed Syrian Kurds strike a deal for a ‘roadmap’ with Al-Assad “government”

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) north of Raqqa in Syria. Photograph: Rodi Said/Reuters

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say they have agreed to work with the Syrian government towards a “democratic, decentralised Syria”, in an attempt to cement their autonomy in the war-ravaged country, Al-Jazeera wrote Saturday.

The SDF’s political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), issued a short statement on Saturday saying they would form committees to develop negotiations and “chart a roadmap to a democratic, decentralised Syria”.

There was no immediate confirmation from Damascus, but Sihanouk Dibo, a leftist Kurdish politician, said he expected the negotiations to be “long and arduous,” according to Al-Jazeera.

“It is still very early to talk of an agreement, but we are working on it,” he said.

Founded in 2015, the SDF was formed to defend Syria’s northeastern region from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and other armed groups, Al-Jazeera added.

Using American weapons and equipment, the SDF managed to seize control of between 25-30 percent of Syria, including areas which hold the bulk of the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Their political wing has pressed for Syria to be divided along federal lines and made up of autonomous cantons in various regions.

The SDC has set up cantonal administrations in areas it controls which raise their own revenues and operate their own police and other services. But in recent months, a military intervention by Turkey in Syria, and conflicting statements by the United States over its military plans, have left the Kurds extremely wary about their future. They lost the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria to Turkish-backed rebels in January, and only intervention by Washington has prevented Turkish troops from seizing the hard-won town of Manbij from the SDF, whose Kurdish units have pulled back, according to Al-Jazeera.

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