The Washington Institute for Near East Policy hosted Mrs. Ilham Ahmed, President of the Executive Board of the Syrian Democratic Council, through a televised seminar attended by 150 of the most important researchers and officials who are responsible for the Middle East file in Washington, DC.
The televised meeting was held in the office of the Syrian Democratic Council in the American capital, Washington, and was attended by Ghassan Al-Youssef, the co-chair of the Deir ez-Zor Civil Council, Nazira Gorieya, the co-chair of the Executive Council of Al-Jazeera region, in addition to Bassam Ishaq and Sinam Muhammad who are the SDC representatives in Washington and Bassam Saqr, a member of the Presidential Council, as well as a team of workers in the office of the Syrian Democratic Council.
The meeting was distinguished by its raising of the most prominent files related to the Syrian issue in general, and in particular the regions of northern and eastern Syria, where the American forces are present. In addition, the meeting members devoted a part of time for discussing the Kurdish issue and ways to solve it.
The head of the SDC Executive Body, Mrs. Ilham Ahmed, spoke about her visit to Washington and the meetings in which she and her accompanying delegation had with the US administration and prominent members of Congress from the Democratic and Republican parties. She expressed her impression of the meeting with prominent officials in the White House, describing it as it is “positive”. In which The White House officials affirmed that USA will remain in North and East of Syria contrary to what was rumored in Washington after the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
She said that the US presence in Syria would bring a “positive” balance for the Syrian file, which is completely different from the Afghan case.
And she continued, “We have heard pledges by the officials in the White House for continuation to be committed to being present in northern and eastern Syria, and to provide economic support to the region.”
On the issue of the dialogue with the Syrian regime, Ahmed said that the US-Russian cooperation can bring clear results and push the regime to accept the involvement of other political actors, as well as abandoning the “centrality of Syria”, which has become a liability for the path of the political solution in general, and we share Washington’s positions regarding the regime’s strictness and its adherence to the same authoritarian mentality.
Regarding Turkey’s file and its occupation of large parts of northern Syria and its hostile attitudes towards the Autonomous Administration, the head of the Executive Body of SDC renewed their willingness to dialogue with Turkey and resolve all disputes with it by peaceful means and dialogue; provided that files related to the Kurdish people and the Syrian territories occupied by Turkey, such as Serêkaniyê, Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad and Afrin, are addressed.
In answering a question by the symposium organizer at The Washington Institute, David Bullock, about the SDF’s relationship with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Ahmed said that the basic of the issue is to address the Kurdish issue in Turkey, in which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party was established in Turkey for the rights of the Kurds and “its goal was to establish a kind of democracy in Turkey for the Kurds and the rest of the oppressed components to benefit from.”
She added that “the Kurdistan Workers’ Party faced terrorism and extremism in several areas where the Kurds are present and gave their most valuable possessions, including parts of their bodies, and we feel a moral obligation about these sacrifices for us.”
And she continued, “As for us, in the North and East of Syria, we are Syrians of different backgrounds and orientations, and we rule a part of the territories of Syria, and we have no enmity towards Turkey.”
She called on the international community to ensure an open and comprehensive dialogue among the Kurds in Turkey and the Turkish government, and to reach understandings that would establish long-term stability and security in the region.
In the last part of the meeting, Mrs. Ilham Ahmed spoke about the path of developing the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, which was started by “SDC” through the implementation of the series of outcomes of the “National Conference of the People of Al-Jazeera and Euphrates”, which was held in November of last year.
She said that the regions of northern and eastern Syria will witness an electoral process soon, which will be open to all components of the region to participate in it, pointing out that the Autonomous Administration accepts ” an impartial international monitoring to ensure the democracy and transparency of the elections.”
She added that the Kurdish-Kurdish dialogue will not be an obstacle for holding the elections, reasoning that “it is not fair to make the components of the region, such as the Arabs, who constitute a large part of the region’s population, waiting for the elections and their democratic representation until the Kurdish parties come to an understanding in their separate dialogue”.