SDF visited UAE to seek help in reconciling with Assad regime, report says – Middle East Monitor

The Kurdish-led militia, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is seeking the help of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in brokering a deal with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to a report by the news outlet Al-Monitor, officials and sources with knowledge on the issue informed it that the SDF’s commander in chief Mazlum Kobane had travelled to the UAE around the end of March and beginning of April to meet with Emirati officials.

The alleged visit and the meeting with officials, including reportedly the UAE’s national security adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan, was to seek Abu Dhabi’s help in convincing the Assad regime to accept the SDF’s advancements for reconciliation.

In recent years, the SDF and its affiliated Kurdish militias have sought greater ties with and assistance from the Syrian regime, especially amid the Turkish military operations into northern Syria and the current threat of another looming operation.

READ: Syria’s Kurds seek talks with regime amid regional changes

The SDF had traditionally relied upon the United States for protection from Ankara, as US forces directly assist the Kurdish militias and administration in north-east Syria with the apparent aim to keep Daesh at bay.

Washington, however, neither has open relations with the Assad regime nor does it command as much confidence from regional allies in fulfilling guarantees. According to the sources which spoke to the outlet, the militia’s outreach to Abu Dhabi is also yet another sign of the decline in American influence in the region, aside from the fact that the Gulf nation has strong ties with Assad.

In response to the report, the UAE denied that any such meeting had taken place, with an Emirati official telling the paper in an email that “The claims referenced in your email are false and unfounded”. Despite that, one of the anonymous officials stressed that “It is one hundred percent true”.

Another part of the information given to the paper was that Bafel Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – the Iraqi Kurdistan region’s second largest party – had travelled with Kobane. Turkiye and its intelligence services had known about that, according to one of the officials, who speculated that the drone strike on Kobane’s convoy on April 7 – upon his reported return from the UAE – in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah intentionally missed the target to send a message of displeasure regarding the SDF leader’s trip and Talabani’s assistance.

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