Damascus Says Autonomy for Syrian Kurds Could Be Negotiable

Assad Govt Willing to Discuss Matter After ISIS War

While Iraqi Kurdistan’s secession bid is threatening to spark a region-wide war against them, the Syrian Kurdish territory of Rojava seems to be having some success with their own attempts to get at least considerable autonomy within post-war Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in comments on state media that the calls for autonomy for Rojava could be a matter for negotiation, but only after the defeat of the ISIS forces still operating in eastern Syria.

Rojava, also called Western Kurdistan, largely overlaps with Hasakeh Province, but has grown with the Kurdish YPG’s capturing of neighboring territory from ISIS. Any negotiation on autonomy would likely include the Kurds releasing non-Kurdish territory from their control.

While the US has been backing the YPG militarily, they’ve expressed vocal opposition to granting the region autonomy, saying they want post-war Syria to have a strongly centralized system of government with no federalization. Russia has expressed tepid support for a federal system, but only as a result of negotiations. Given how large Syrian Kurdistan has become, it seems that such negotiation is all but inevitable.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.