U.S. seeking a deal with Turkey, says Syrian Kurdish senior official
Xeber24.net – Ahval
The United States is trying to find a deal that is acceptable for Syrian Kurds and Turkey at the same time, said a senior Syrian Kurdish politician, Ilham Ahmed, who is visiting Washington, D.C. this week.
Ahmed’s primary goal in the U.S. capital is to lobby for a negotiated U.S. withdrawal that would protect the Syrian Kurdish forces, Associated Press reported.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly declared an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces on December 19 last year, five days after a call with the Turkish President, U.S. officials and Syrian Kurds have been trying to slow the process down, if not completely halt it.
Ahmed is the co-chair of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Council, which is the part of governing coalition in northeastern Syria, a region known as Rojava by Kurds.
While confirming plans to leave the country, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton have both vowed to protect the Syrian Kurdish forces who have fought alongside the U.S. and Global Coalition against the Islamic State since the middle of 2014.
“They are worried about any clashes between the two sides, which they consider as allies,” Ahmed told AP. “So far the plan is unclear, but what is clear is that Americans are seeking a meeting between us and the Turks with the aim of calming down the situation and reaching a solution or settlement for protection.”
Later on Monday, Ahmed exchanged a few words with U.S. President Donald Trump at a fundraiser in Washington — the first such high-level encounter for a Syrian Kurdish official.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has for months reiterated his intention to wipe out the Syrian Kurdish fighters from Turkey’s border with northeastern Syria. His plan includes invading main Syrian Kurdish towns like Kamishli and Hasakeh. To do so, Turkey would likely require Russian consent. However, Erdoğan’s visit to Moscow this month did not bring any concrete results with regards to the impending Turkish intervention, which the president has been pushing strongly for ahead of Turkish local elections due at the end of March.
“Turkey’s control would mean turning these areas into Turkish colonies controlled by terrorist groups,” Ahmed said, referring to Turkish-backed Syrian opposition groups.
Ahmed also warned during the interview that the Islamic State group has not been defeated, saying sleeper cells could be “re-energized” after the U.S. pullout.