Iraq News

Arab-Kurd council readies for talks with Syria regime

The political arm of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Monday (July 16th) it was working on a negotiating team for any talks with the Syrian regime, AFP reported.

The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) is linked to the SDF, an Arab-Kurd alliance that holds much of the country's north and northeast.

Those areas are outside regime control, and are mostly managed by autonomous administrations that the regime sees as a challenge to its authority.

On Monday, the SDC gathered in the northern town of Tabqa for a meeting that included Kurdish officials and members of Syria's tolerated domestic opposition.

"One of the meeting's aims is to create a platform to negotiate with the Syrian regime," leading SDC member Hekmat Habib said.

"This platform will represent all areas in the autonomous administration and all areas held by the SDF," he said, without providing further details.

With Russian backing, regime forces have retaken control of large swathes of Syria since 2015, and now hold sway over more than 60% of Syrian territory.

But the SDF still control just under a third of the country, including key oil fields, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Much of the land under SDF control, including Tabqa and the city of al-Raqa, was captured during a coalition-backed offensive against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

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