Muslim: Political and cultural rights are not up for negotiation

TEV-DEM Foreign Relations Committee Officer Salih Muslim spoke to the AFP about their meetings with the Syrian regime and said political and cultural rights can’t be negotiated.

The first official visit between the Syrian Democratic Council and the Syrian regime was held on July 26.

Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) Foreign Relations Committee Officer Salih Muslim spoke to the AFP about the meeting and said, “Whether in the area of institutions or in democracy, we are trying to protect all that we have built for the autonomy.”

Muslim pointed out that the mindset that has Syria surrounded is not ready for such an administration yet and stressed the need for advancement “in phases” because of it.

Until the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, only the extremely centralist Baath party was allowed. Bashar Al Assad had taken over the government from his father Hafez Assad.

“But,” said Muslim, “Syria won’t be like it was before,” and added: “A democratic and decentralized system should be accepted.”

Muslim said the regime didn’t even pay attention to them before: “But our will, organization and strength changed the balance.”

Muslim thinks the negotiations with the regime won’t result in “a simple change in government” in Kurdish regions.

He continued: “We want everybody to live free with their own colors and express themselves. The autonomous administration doesn’t need the cultural and political rights negotiated.”

Muslim said this poses a model for the whole of Syria.

According to the AFP, some analysts say the regime only foresees the recognition of some basic cultural rights in return for ending the autonomous system.

But Ilham Ahmed, who participated in the first official visits with the regime by late July, stressed that the autonomous administration is one of the gains achieved during the war against ISIS. Ahmed also refuted the allegations that the Damascus regime wants the dismissal of the Kurdish forces and stressed that there has been no such discussion.

Washington based analyst Mutlu Civirioglu stated that the Kurds have been handling their own affairs themselves for years and added: “They won’t accept a walkback. That is their red line.” According to Civirioglu, the Kurds and the regime will reach a solution, be it through peaceful means or through war.

According to Haid Haid from British think tank Chatham House, due to the great divide between the positions of the two parties, the negotiations may continue for a long time.