On Sunday, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) handed over its bases in northern Hassakeh to Russian military police, while there are reports of negotiations ongoing with the Assad regime to reach conclusive solutions between the two sides.
Russian forces took the SDF’s Academy for Women’s Self-Defense as a base in the town of Amouda in northern Hassakeh, and raised the Russian flag above the school.
The step comes as part of series of agreements recently concluded between the Russians and the SDF after Operation Peace Spring. In accordance with these deals, Russian police have entered into northeastern Syria.
In recent days, the Russians have taken Qamishli airport as a military base in eastern Syria, a major change in the map of influence in the region, especially in light of Russia and Turkey running joint patrols east of the Euphrates in accordance with the Sochi agreement signed between the two sides.
The SDF leader Mazloum Abadi has spoken of a rapprochement with the regime with Russian mediation.
Abadi commented on the reports about the gradual return of areas that his forces had controlled to regime authority, saying: “The government needs to deepen and clarify its positions further. Accusations of treachery do not accord with the current reality. Today we face fateful challenges across all of Syria which we need to work together to resolve.”
Abadi added in an interview with the Al-Arabiya channel on Saturday: “Our demands are clear. We want a decentralized Syria and the Self-Administration needs to be officially recognized.” He added that: “We will preserve Syrian unity and will accept its sovereignty over its borders and capital and independent constitution, but we will not accept a return to before 2011.”
Regarding the future of the SDF, especially amid calls by the Assad regime for it to be integrated, Abadi said that: “The requested formula is for the SDF to maintain its essence as a military institution commensurate with its numbers of more than 70,000, whereby it could comprise two or three corps. The rights of SDF members to stay in the areas where they are, which have been liberated over eight years of war, must be protected.”
Abadi noted the Russian role in mediating with the Assad regime, saying: “Russia wants to reach a compromise with the government. We have our project and they have theirs, and the gap is still large.”
Abadi has recently had many media interviews in which he’s discussed the conditions placed by his forces to reach a clear and final deal with the Assad regime, in which he’s said that his meetings with the “Syrian government” have been “serious” since the first day, adding that they are “in the interests of both sides.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.