Any reconciliation with the Syrian regime should not come at the Syrian people’s expense, warned the leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political party in northern Syria, while expressing his support for the country’s growing ties with the Arab world in an interview on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Saudi journal Al Majalla, PYD leader Saleh Muslim stated that the Syrian-Arab-Kurdish ties were not a cause of concern for him or the PYD, saying, “We welcome them”.
However, Muslim stressed the importance of ensuring that this reconciliation and rapprochement do not come at the expense of the Syrian people. He stated that the PYD does not believe in the regime’s goal of restoring Syria to the situation pre-2011 and instead called for the implementation of democratic laws and respect for the Syrian people and political factions, as outlined in UN Resolution 2254.
When asked about dialogue with the Syrian government, Muslim expressed hope that the Arab countries would urge President Bashar al-Assad to engage in discussions and reach a specific solution. He acknowledged that dialogue had taken place in the past but that there was currently no active dialogue.
Muslim emphasised the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) role in safeguarding Syria’s sovereignty and considered it more effective than the Syrian army, proposing that the SDF could serve as the foundation for a future democratic Syrian military.
Regarding PYD-US relations, Muslim emphasised that the relationship between the two sides is founded on mutual interest, with the common goal of combating terrorism in the region. The United States recognises the PYD’s strong commitment to this cause and their effectiveness as a force, leading to ongoing cooperation between the two parties, he explained.
The PYD leader also emphasised the military contribution of the Kurdish community, led by Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, in fighting alongside Palestinian fighters against the Israeli army in the Lebanese Bekaa Valley after the 1982 invasion. He mentioned that despite facing opposition from the Syrian army upon their return to the camp in Bekaa, the Kurds refused to comply.
Syria’s decade-long exile from the Arab League came to an end on 15 May as officials joined a preparatory session for the upcoming summit on 19 May in Saudi Arabia. Damascus was suspended in November 2011 for its violent crackdown on protests that escalated into a devastating conflict.
The king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz, had invited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend the upcoming Arab League summit on 19 May, Syrian state media had reported on 8 May.
The AANES had welcomed Syria’s re-admission to the Arab League and expressed its readiness to play a role in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis on 11 May.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) had also welcomed the decision of the Arab League on 8 May.