SDF says normalization between Erdogan and Assad regimes risks Syrian people’s lives

SDF says normalization between Erdogan and Assad regimes risks Syrian people’s lives
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“We must urge our Syrian people to stand against such a deal,” SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi told Asharq Al-Awsat

A “comprehensive normalization” between Turkish and Syrian governments will only serve Ankara’s interests and risk many Syrians’ lives, said Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

“We must urge our Syrian people to stand against such a deal,” Abdi said in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, warning that it will not be conducive to reaching a political solution in the war-torn country. 

Turkey that has carried out three military operations into Northern Syria since 2016 to combat Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), in June has threatened a fresh offensive, but international pressure led Turkish government to soften its tone and praise dialogue with its southern neighbor. 

In August, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey needs to take further steps in dialogue and diplomacy with Syria. In October, Erdogan also said that when the time comes, he can meet with his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad.

However, the Damascus Administration last month said it has two conditions to restore relations with Turkey. 

Ankara should "stops its occupation of the northern Syrian regions and does not provide support to terrorist groups," said Boutros Merjaneh, the Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the Syrian Parliament, in an interview with Russian Izvestia.

Since 2016, Turkey helped Syrian opposition seize hundreds of kilometres of land, targeting the Kurdish YPG militia, a US-backed group that Ankara sees as an offshoot of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The YPG is allied with the West in a fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), forming the backbone of the SDF.

According to Abdi, reconciliation between Turkey and the Syrian regime is only a temporary tactic.

“We cannot tackle the suffering of the Syrian people in this way, especially after long years of destructive war,” he said.

In response to a question over a Moscow-sponsored deal between Damascus and Ankara, Abdi said “Should the deal be struck, then it will target the will of our people, who have been fighting terrorism for years and bravely defending Syrian territories. We should also emphasize that the deal would exploit the Syrian refugees for political purposes.”

“We must warn our Syrian people of the need to stand against this deal, which consolidates Turkish interference in our internal affairs and makes it a constant source of crises,” he said.

Any deal should reflect the will of the Syrian people alone and it can be achieved through open political dialogue between the political parties, Abdi said.

“In spite of all the challenges, the fate of our country still lies in our hands. That way, we as Syrians, will determine, the framework that suits us. This cannot happen through deals that are being struck at the expense of our wounded people.”