Talks between representatives of Syria’s Kurdish rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Damascus bring a ray of hope to hundreds of thousands living in the country’s north and east. After the talks last week, leaders of the Syrian Democratic Council, the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said they were ready to work with the regime towards creating “a democratic, decentralised Syria with a new system and a new form”. This was the first time since the outbreak of war that a delegation was sent by Kurdish rebels to Damascus.
Damascus’s strategy appears to be to seize the entire south and then move north. Before attacking Idlib, the last stronghold of anti-regime rebels, the government is seeking to engage the Kurds, and Kurdish militias say they could join the Idlib offensive with the government. Their political leaders have also made it clear they are not seeking independence from Syria, and only want to protect their autonomy.