Developments have accelerated with regards to the eastern Euphrates and the military operation which Turkey is threatening to begin in parts of Syria that it is determined to turn into a “safe zone,” after the White House announced that it was withdrawing part of the American forces from their positions on Syria’s northern border.
Options for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) at the moment appear limited. They are led by the choice of an alliance of interest with the Assad regime, with the commander Mazloum Abadi (Mazloum Kobani) saying that this option was on the table in light of the expected military operation that Ankara has said it was preparing to complete.
The SDF commander spoke with the American channel NBC News on Tuesday, saying that he was now considering what had been impossible to imagine a few years ago—partnering with Bashar al-Asasd to fight Turkish forces. “This is one of the options that we have on the table,” he said.
Abadi also said he is worried about the possible Turkish military action, and called on the American people to pressure President Donald Trump to help.
“The people who fought with you against international terrorism, against the Islamic State, are at risk right now and they are facing a large-scale battle alone,” he said.
The option of allying with Assad is not new for the SDF. In recent months, they have put this option forward after declaring the end of the Islamic State’s influence in eastern Syria, and Turkey’s continued threats to start a major military operation along the southern border, from Manbij to Ras al-Ayn. This was accompanied by previous rounds of negotiations between a delegation from the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) and another from the Assad regime. But these did not result in a final agreement between the two sides.
For its part, the Assad regime has not remained silent around these developments and what the area east of the Euphrates is currently witnessing. It is clear that it is trying to take advantage of the opportunity to form a partnership of interests with the SDC so that it can enter the areas it controls, which it lost in the first years of the Syrian revolution, and is putting into its calculations the serious danger that threatens these forces, who have previously said that they would prefer the regime to enter their areas than the Turkish army.
Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad sent a message to the SDC on Monday, saying in statements that, “we … will tell them [the Kurds] that they have lost everything and they should not lose themselves. In the end, the nation welcomes all its people and we want to resolve all Syrian problems in a positive manner, removed from violence but in a manner that preserves every grain of dust of Syrian territory.”
The messages, which could lead to an alliance of interests between the Assad regime and the SDF, had been preceded by the recent suggestion that Assad’s forces were ready to move towards the city of Manbij in the eastern Aleppo countryside, hours after the White House announced it was withdrawing part of the American forces from the Syrian border positions.
In a statement to the Reuters news agency on Tuesday, the Self-Administration adviser Badran Jia Kurd said that the Self-Administration might begin negotiations with Damascus and Moscow in order to fill any security vacuum, if American forces withdraw entirely from the border region with Turkey.
He added: “If America vacates the area and especially the border area for certain we, as a self administration and as the SDF, will be forced to study all the available options,” and added that it was possible that “we may hold talks with Damascus or the Russian side to fill the void or block the Turkish attack, so this may develop and there could be meetings and contacts in case of a vacuum.”
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.