Ilham Ehmed: We want the regime to take new steps

The foreign affairs representative of the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, Ilham Ehmed, underlined the need for new steps and change by the regime in Damascus.

The foreign affairs representative of the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria (DAANES), Ilham Ehmed, told ANF that Turkey is seeking to annex large parts of Syria. The Autonomous Administration expects that the government of Bashar al-Assad will insist on Turkey's withdrawal from the occupied territories in order to normalize relations.

Ehmed highlighted the similarities between the regimes in Ankara and Damascus, and said: "These regimes are not open to democracy. They are not even open to change; human rights, the legitimate rights of peoples, the rights of religious denominations."

The Kurdish politician pointed out that both governments are therefore in a deep internal crisis. "Both are experiencing very serious and deep contradictions in their relationship with their own societies, with the people living on their territory. The Turkish state has serious problems with its population. The government in Damascus has the same problems. There are efforts to reach an agreement between the Turkish state and the government in Damascus. Russia and Iraq play a role in this. Everything that will undermine the dignity of the people of Syria is on the negotiating table."

Turkey's withdrawal from Syria must be a precondition for an agreement

Ehmed said: "In the initial phase of the Syrian crisis, the Turkish state interfered in Syria's affairs in many ways. With military attacks, the Turkish state exceeded the limits of the Adana Agreement. It is pursuing a policy of occupation and annexation. The Turkish state and the regime in Damascus have also changed their organizational structure. They are not open to democracy and do not recognize the concerns and rights of the peoples. They trample on these rights in every way. For years, the Turkish state has supported mercenary groups and presented itself as the protector of the Syrian people. Now it is sending messages of support to the regime in Damascus. Damascus wants to relieve the pressure on it and the Turkish state wants to get rid of the refugees. Turkey wants to make its presence in Syria permanent. To do this, Ankara is trying to revive old alliances. This shows that new military invasions are being prepared. However, it is clear that there are obstacles to this agreement. Because both the Turkish state and the government in Damascus do not have the independence to make their own decisions. The Syrian issue has become an internal problem and Turkey insists on changing demographics. Therefore, the security and interests of the people of Syria must be considered first and foremost. In this sense, the withdrawal of the Turkish state from Syrian territory should be the precondition for an agreement. Any other agreement will not only be to the detriment of the people of North and East Syria, but will harm the entire population of Syria."

The Turkish state must leave the occupied territories

Ehmed continued: "First of all, the Turkish state must leave the occupied territories in Syria. It seems as if the regime insists on this condition. If these two regimes come to an agreement, then the first thing to do is to deal with common problems. One of these common problems is the concerns of the peoples of the region. This is not only about Northern and Eastern Syria, but also Northern and Western Syria. The Turkish state occupies areas in Northern and Eastern Syria. Some areas were also taken from the regime in Damascus by Turkey. It will indeed be difficult for both states to resolve these problems among themselves."

It is dangerous if relations return to the previous status quo

Ehmed continued: "When it comes to the interests of states, the interests of peoples and societies are of little importance. States crush them anyway. This is especially true for the groups that states perceive as enemies. The Turkish state sees northern and eastern Syria as its enemies, while the government in Damascus sees Northern and Eastern Syria as well as Northern and Western Syria as its enemies. If they want to return to the old relations on this basis, it obviously entails many dangers. The old relations were based on disregard for the rights of peoples.

The interests of the regime are much more important here. The interests of the peoples are not important. This brings great dangers.

There can be no solution without involving the whole country

We say again: if there is to be a solution, then it must include all of Syria. In addition, the sanctions against Syria naturally affect Syria's international relations. We want the regime to take steps and change. The return of those who have been criminalized by the regime, the return of all refugees to their homes, the withdrawal of the Turkish state from the occupied territories - if this is the approach, then the Syrian issue can be resolved."

Russia promotes relations between Ankara and Damascus

Ehmed mentioned that the "development road project" agreed in the talks between Ankara and Baghdad should pass through Syrian territory or along the Syrian border. She commented: "Syria is a neighboring country of Iraq, so violent groups travel back and forth between these two countries. Most of the trade also takes place on these roads. All of these are problems, of course. Although Iraq wants to play a role here, it does not have enough power to bring about a general solution. The extent to which Iraq can play a role depends on the many difficulties it is facing. In fact, Russia wants something like this to happen. With the war in Ukraine, Russia is in a very difficult situation. The burden of the Syrian war has also become heavier and Russia has not been able to benefit from this situation. We do not know what conditions Russia is imposing on either side. But it wants to reduce its own burden. Consequently, Russia is also responsible for what is happening in the region. That is, it has assumed this responsibility to a certain extent. However, the war in the Middle East is expanding. It is not clear what will happen at any moment in Lebanon, which borders Syria. An outbreak could happen at any moment. Any change in Lebanon will have a direct impact on Syria. But Russia wants to close the Syria file. It wants to end the problem of the opposition. However, we believe that this is only a temporary solution, like the one in Dara. As long as Russia does not think of a permanent solution, this wound will always remain open and continue to bleed."

Racist incitement by the Turkish state leads to attacks on refugees

Ilham Ehmed also pointed out that the attempts at rapprochement between the Turkish state and Syria have caused unrest in Turkey, and said: "Racism in Turkish society has reached a very dangerous level. The refugees from Syria have integrated into Turkish society and are working, but all the propaganda for Turkishness creates great hatred and antipathy towards other peoples. In this way, the ground is being laid for a civil war. The attacks on refugees from Syria are the result of this policy. This also applies to the attacks on Kurds. Today, Syrian refugees are being forcibly deported from Turkey. Villages are being built in Afrin to change the demographic structure of the region. The Kurds are being displaced and replaced by Arab populations. But these people are also being forcibly resettled. This is a crime in itself, for which accountability must be taken. This must stop immediately. This is abuse of war refugees. In order to solve the Syrian crisis and to preserve the dignity of the peoples of Syria, it is important that all ethnic groups living in Syria unite. That would mean an end to the abuse of the population."

Our region is a region where people can find refuge

On the refugee issue, Ehmed said: "We have already explained that we have a project to solve the refugee issue. Our region is a region where these people can find refuge. In this sense, the United Nations should have a concept regarding self-government. Erdoğan keeps saying that he will invite Assad to Turkey. This statement is actually aimed at society in Turkey. Racism in Turkey has been fueled to such an extent that it now wants to calm people down in this way. In other words, with such statements, people are trying to convey to the people in Turkey that they want to deport those seeking protection."