SOHR exclusive | “Autonomous Administration’s project does not include separatist trends and Iran, Turkey and Russia care only about their interests in Syria,” says Loqman Ahmi • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR exclusive | “Autonomous Administration’s project does not include separatist trends and Iran, Turkey and Russia care only about their interests in Syria,” says Loqman Ahmi

Despite Turkey’s frequent threats to launch a military operation in north-east Syria region under the pretext of “eliminating separatist movements,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its allies, concerns of residents in areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration in north and east Syria about a potential incursion into their areas have been eased greatly after the conclusion of the trilateral summit in Tehran. One of the most prominent outcomes of the summit was the fact that Russia and Iran have refused to give Turkey a green light to carry on with its plan and stressed the importance to reach a political settlement in Syria.


In an exclusive interview with SOHR, the spokesperson for the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, Loqman Ahmi sees that the statement by the Iranian president during the trilateral summit, in which he emphasised that the potential military operation by Turkish forces would pose a threat to the entire region, indicates to the conflicting interests by the three powers, as Iran and Russia want to keep the current military positions in Syria unchanged, noting the ongoing efforts by Moscow to mediate between the Autonomous Administration and Damascus.



Q: The Russian president “Vladimir Putin” has described the trilateral dialogues with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts in Tehran about the situation in Syria as “very useful,” how far are the three powers able to comply with the terms they have agreed on within this vision?


A: The three powers benefit from their presence in Syria, and each power cares only about its narrow interests. The dialogues may be useful for these powers, but they do not play out in favour of Syrian people, especially since no bodies or delegations representing the Syrian people attended this summit. Ironically, the situation in Syria has been discussed in a meeting free of Syrian representatives.


These powers have already failed to comply with agreements reached in earlier meetings in Astana, especially those stipulating that Ankara must have separated the terrorist Jabhat Al-Nusra from the rest terrorist groups. However, Turkey is still hosting and protecting commanders of Jabhat Al-Nusra and scores of ISIS commanders.



Q: Are there any signs indicating that the trilateral summit has restrained Turkey from unleashing a military operation in north Syria region?


A: Statements by Russia and Iran, in which they stressed that such operations would pose a threat to Turkey and the entire region, indicate to the conflicting interests by the three powers, as Iran and Russia want to keep the current military positions in Syria unchanged. Accordingly, Turkey lost the last hope to be given a green light by Russia and Iran to launch a new incursion in north Syria, after all regional and major powers expressed their rejection of this military operation, the latest of which was Germany.



Q: In the joint statement, the three leaders expressed their “determination to counter the separatist agendas aiming at undermining the sovereignty of Syria and threatening the unity of its land.” Does this mean the leaders’ objection of the policies of the Autonomous Administration?


A: The Autonomous Administration’s project does not include any separatist trends, and the parties and formations of the Autonomous Administration have never adopted such trends. The calls by the Autonomous Administration and all affiliated parties and political and social formations for a Syrian-Syrian dialogue and Damascus’ calls upon the Autonomous Administration for joint defence of Syria sovereignty are conclusive evidence that the Autonomous Administration has never intended to separate areas under its control from Syria.


On the contrary, the Turkish occupation and affiliated terrorist groups are the ones having separatist agendas, where Turkey designated Turkish walis (governors) to run the occupied areas which are controlled by Turkish forces and their proxy factions. Moreover, Turkey forced the residents in these areas to learn Turkish and deal in the Turkish currency and raised Turkish flags on buildings and institutions. If these practices are not separatist trends, then what word can describe them?


We have never taken any actions leading to separation. Our capital is Damascus, and we always stress that the solution of the Syrian crisis has to be a Syrian-Syrian one. We have never linked areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration with any capital outside Syria.



Q: What developments do you expect after the visit by Russian forces to Al-Qamishli where they met with SDF commanders? And what about the relations with Russia in the future, after its mediation between SDF and the Syrian regime having been impeded?


A: Russia attempts to play as a mediator between us and Damascus government, and we encourage them to do so. Recently, a consensus was reached about reinforcing the presence of Syrian military forces in the former border posts agreed about with SDF, so that these forces and Syria Democratic Forces can together defend the homeland. We believe that the major task of military forces in any country around the world is manifested in defending the sovereignty and border of the country and protecting its people against any offences by foreign powers.


Our relations with Russia are ongoing, especially since the Russian Federation and Turkey had signed Sochi Accord in October 2019, after the Turkish incursion into north-east Syria, which led then to capturing Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad. Also, Russia is a guarantor of this accord.



Q: Are you still open to resume dialogues with the Syrian regime, and what conditions should be met for this to happen?


A: We believe that the Syrian-Syrian dialogue is a significant strategic process, so we are always open to resume dialogues with Damascus. However, the will of people of north and east Syria and the region’s constituents, which manifest themselves in the Autonomous Administration and its military formations, must be put into consideration. These formations have been repelling terrorist groups and defending areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration since 2012, at a time when Damascus turned its back to these threats. Furthermore, SDF-backed military formations, in cooperation with the International Coalition Forces, managed to eliminate ISIS as a controlling power in Syrian territory.