US-Backed SDF Warns Assad Can’t Recover Territory Through Military Action

Spokesman: Offensives will lead to more losses and destruction

Responding to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s talk of forcibly expelling US forces from the country, and ultimately reuniting all of its territory under government control, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said there would be no way Syria could recover their territory by military action.

Yellow is SDF territory. Red is Syrian government territory. Green is various rebels.

“Any military solution, as far as the SDF is concerned, will lead to more losses and destruction and difficulties for the Syrian people,” according to SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel. Assad said he wants to open the door to negotiations with the SDF first.

Assad’s priority is to get US forces out of Syria, and he says that the SDF is the “only problem left” with respect to uniting the territory of Syria. The SDF seeks a system of considerable autonomy for their territory, which is much of northern Syria, but has never successfully negotiated such an understanding with anyone.

The two issues, US troops and control of SDF territory, may be considered interlocking, as Assad likely believes the SDF won’t make a deal so long as they are hosting US forces who Syria doesn’t want in the country.

On the other hand, reports of the US planning to back Turkey in ousting the Kurds from Manbij could end that alliance pretty quickly, and SDF rejections of military action may be seen as just as much a warning to US forces as to Assad.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.