Kurdish-led group prepared to work with Syrian government
BEIRUT (AP) — The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council said Saturday it has agreed to work with the Syrian government on ending seven years of violence in the country and setting up a roadmap for Syria’s future.
The SDC is the political wing of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces that controls wide swathes of northeast Syria.
In May, Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to attack areas held by the SDF. Assad’s comments came as his forces have been scoring major victories over the past two years with the help of Russia and Iran and now control much of Syria.
Assad said in late May that he has opened the door to negotiations with the Kurdish-run administration while also preparing to “liberate by force.”
Government forces and Syrian Kurds have clashed sporadically over the eastern oil province of Deir el-Zour. The Syrian army and the SDF have been the most effective in removing the Islamic State group from most areas they controlled in Syria.
The United States, which supports the SDF, operates air bases and outposts in the Kurdish-administered region.
SDC said in a statement that during meetings with officials in the capital Damascus both sides agreed to form committees for further negotiations until they can put “an end to violence and war.”
It added that they also agreed on putting forth a roadmap that leads to a “democratic decentralized Syria.”
There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government.
In southern Syria, troops pressed in their offensive against the IS-linked fighters capturing the village of Jamila and entering the nearby village of Nafia, state TV said.
The TV aired footage from the southern region showing Syrian snipers taking positions as artillery and rockets hit areas controlled by the extremists.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said some rebels based in southern Syria who recently decided to stop fighting the government are helping Syrian troops in the battle against IS-linked fighters.