On Sunday, Turkey’s pro-government Daily Sabah reported that Sweden pledged $376 million in financial aid to the Syrian Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria.
Over the weekend, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde received a delegation of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), the political wing of the U.S-backed and Kurdish dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The entourage was led by Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the SDC.
“Appreciate sincere discussion with SDC’s Ilham Ahmad on the situation in northeastern Syria. Sweden remains [an] active partner,” said Linde in a tweet.
According to Shiyar Ali, who represents the Kurdish administration in Sweden, Ahmed’s meeting with Linde was aimed at discussing new ways to “support the Syrian democratic opposition and find a mechanism to reach a roadmap that leads to a more inclusive political process in Syria.”
“A number of issues related to the humanitarian and economic situation in Syria in general and northeastern Syria in particular were also discussed,” Ali told Rudaw English.
After the meeting, Ahmed tweeted that Sweden has “an active and important partner” and thanked the Nordic state for its support for a “political solution and the humanitarian file in Syria.”
Sweden has been a financial contributor to the global coalition that aimed to eliminate the Islamic State (ISIS) from its strongholds in Iraq an Syria. Beyond efforts to defeat ISIS, Sweden’s own stated goals for its financial contributions to northeast Syria are aimed strengthening democracy and gender equality, and to greater respect for human rights in Syria and for refugees from Syria in neighbouring countries.
Turkey has been critical of Sweden and other nations’ support for the SDF in the past because of its contention that the group is an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In the face of this disapproval, Linde has not strayed from her position.
In October 2020, Linde called on Turkey to withdraw from northern Syria at a press conference with Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. Kurdish officials cheered Linde, including SDF commander Mazloum Abdi, who offered his praise.