Political and tribal leaders in northern Syria hope for fruitful discussions with Damascus in order to secure the region from external threats.
The north of Syria is made up of a mosaic of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens and Christians. This mosaic comprises a variety of social groups in the region, including urban, rural and tribal populations. Leaders representing these populations have gathered to discuss the future steps regarding intra-Syrian negotiations involving the north’s political authorities and the central government in Damascus.
“First of all, it is necessary to develop the administrative system in the region in addition to reach a political solution or a successful negotiation process with Damascus so that we can all build the future Syria, a democratic Syria”, commented Eldar Khalil, a leader of the Movement for a Democratic Society, the coalition that is governing the north of Syria.
The past few years has seen the north of Syria detach politically from the central government in Damascus as the civil war has raged on and opened the space for independent politics in the region. Nevertheless, the past year has seen the political authorities of the north worry about their future existence due to a number of incidents, namely the takeover of the Afrin region by Turkey and its allied rebel forces, and the announcement that the US will be withdrawing its forces from the north, which many believe will allow for Turkey to implement its ambitions of imposing further control in the region.
These events have prompted discussions between the north’s political authorities and Damascus. Reports point to the readiness of the north to yield some of the autonomy that it gained over the course of the conflict in return for security.
The most pressing security issue that is facing the north Syrian political and military authorities is the constant threat levied by the Turkish authorities of taking over Manbij, which has been named as the next target for Turkey and its allied forces on numerous occasions following the takeover of Afrin.