The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the de-facto autonomous region in northeast Syria, concluded its fourth conference in Raqqa with a final declaration that stressed the need for revival of intra-Syrian dialogue and engagement with stakeholders in the Syrian crisis.
The Council reaffirmed a commitment to Syria’s right to sovereignty over its entire territory. It signalled a firm stance against external intervention that could alter the social fabric of the country, categorically rejecting any plans for demographic change and displacement of the indigenous population.
Humanitarian concerns were at the centre of the conference, with the SDC stressing the need to improve conditions in the camps for internally displaced persons. The statement emphasised the right of any Syrian force to enter into cultural agreements with external entities, reflecting a commitment to fostering understanding and cooperation.
A key moment of the conference on Wednesday was the election of a new co-presidency, accompanied by the adoption of a new internal system. The SDC abolished the Executive Committee and elected Layla Qahraman and Mahmoud al-Meslet as co-chairs. Qahraman, the former deputy co-chair of the SDC, and al-Meslet, a former opposition figure who holds both American and Syrian citizenship, will succeed Riyad Dirar and Amina Omar.
The newly approved internal system outlines the council’s principles, decision-making mechanisms, membership and organisational structure, and represents a significant step forward in the SDC’s contribution to a lasting and inclusive solution to the Syrian crisis.
The changes to the SDC come a week after the General Council adopted a new social contract and renamed the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) as the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (DAANES).
Roadmap to a political and peaceful solution
A comprehensive roadmap for a political and peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict was also presented at the conference. Among the measures proposed are the formation of a transitional government with broad powers, the suspension of the current constitution and the establishment of a committee for the drafting of a new democratic constitution.
The SDC’s objective is to dismantle authoritarianism and centralisation and to promote comprehensive democratic change that will rebuild Syria on the basis of a decentralised and inclusive system.
The SDC was formed in December 2015 with the stated aim of promoting a secular, democratic vision for the country. The political entity promotes itself as ethnically diverse, as it includes Kurds, Arabs and minorities.