Despite having different agendas, Damascus, Tehran and Ankara aim to undermine the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the region’s autonomous model, SDF commander-in-chief Mazloum Abdi said in an interview with the London-based political news magazine Al-Majalla published on Saturday.
Commenting on tensions in Deir ez-Zor, a region in eastern Syria that has seen recent unrest caused by rebellious Arab tribal clans, Abdi noted that there has been a coordinated effort between the Syrian government and Iran to support certain Arab tribal leaders against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). But according to the SDF commander, Turkey too has joined the fray, supporting Syrian armed groups it is allied to in the name of tribalism. He asserted that these three actors were seeking to exploit certain tribal elements to further their own agendas.
Discussing Russia’s role in the recent escalation, Abdi said that Russia did not target tribes, but bombed armed groups that “tried to appear as clans”, explaining that Moscow “does not agree with the formula of exploiting the situation for the benefit of new Turkish expansionist operations”. He added that the United States did not participate in military operations against the tribes, but provided air support because the SDF “did not need American support, except for reconnaissance support” in the process of restoring stability.
Abdi stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, calling on the Damascus government to accept a realistic political solution that will end the crisis and contribute to peace and stability in the war-torn country.
He added, “[the SDF] are a professional and national force. We demand that it become part of the Syrian defence system and that its role and work be regulated by law thereafter”. Abdi argued that any discussion of disbanding the SDF would disrupt the potential for a political solution and display a lack of commitment to productive dialogue.
“The impossible preconditions and the reliance on the continuation of the conflict in chaos will not save the ruling regime in Damascus and will not lead to a solution. If Damascus delays a solution, it will be the biggest loser”, Abdi said.