Syria’s foreign ministry called the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) “separatist terrorist groups backed by the United States” in two letters sent to the United Nations secretary general and president of the Security Council, reported BBC Turkish on Monday.
Turkey maintains that the SDF is connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought Turkey for over three decades and has been designated a terrorist organisation by both Turkey and the United States. The SDF is part of the U.S.-led global coalition against ISIS.
Syria, for the first time since the conflict began in 2011, called SDF a terrorist militia – a term the Syrian government reserved for various insurgent groups in the country to date, reported the BBC.
The letters said the Syrian government is determined to take back all Syrian lands, including lands under control of “the terrorist militia known as the SDF”, rescue them from terrorism and rebuild what the terrorist and their supporters have torn down.
According to the Syrian foreign ministry, SDF acts in line with Israel’s plans for the region.
Turkey and the United States have recently come to an agreement to establish a safe zone along the Turkish border in Kurdish-controlled north-eastern Syria, and have launched joint aerial and terrestrial patrols as part of the agreement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan argues that the United States acts in favour of the YPG, which forms the main body of the SDF.
There have been rumours of behind-the-scenes talks with Syrian President Bashar al Assad through diplomatic channels with Russia acting as an intermediary, Ahval Turkish reported.
A delegation from Turkey’s nationalist-left Fatherland Party (VP) is to meet with Assad, according to a report by Turkish news site Oda TV.
VP leader Doğu Perinçek on Monday announced a plan for Syria, which includes steps such as Turkish-backed groups laying down arms, Syria issuing a blanket pardon for these groups, and the two countries clearing the region of terrorist organisations in Syria (listed as various Kurdish groups and their allies), and returning Syrian refugees to their country. “It is natural for Iraq, Iran and Russia to also contribute to this process,” said Perinçek.