The negotiations between Syria's Bashar Assad regime and PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) have been deadlocked due to disagreements over the latter's autonomy demand for the territories they currently hold in northern and eastern Syria. On Wednesday, a delegation from the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), which is the political wing of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by the YPG, held new talks with the Assad regime on decentralization and the constitution.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), local sources said the talks did not conclude with positive results. The sources claimed that the SDC wanted to be one of the main administrative authorities in the occupied territories; however, the Assad regime insisted on gaining administrative control of the territories held by the YPG, and instead offered them a local administration, which would consist of economy, interior, agriculture, finance, culture, education, health and family ministries. The Assad regime's proposal envisaged handing foreign affairs over to the regime.
The region the YPG controls spreads across much of northern and eastern Syria, which is rich in farmland, oil and water. In many regions, the group has violated human rights during its dealings with locals, including arbitrary arrests, forced child recruitment to join its lines and demographic changes.
SDC Co-chair Riad Darar told media outlets that on Tuesday, YPG and the Assad regime held talks where the "long dialogue" included a proposal from the regime for the de facto autonomous region to take part in the state's local elections next month.
The SDC insists on preserving its structure of governance and self-rule in any future elections, Darar said and added, "The delegation from Qamishli decided it would return for more discussions."
The YPG has organic organizational and operational links with the PKK, a group considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU and Turkey. Despite the links, Washington has picked the YPG as its partner in its fight against Daesh in Syria, supplying the group with weapons and other military equipment.
In late July, the YPG conducted the first step of negotiations with the Assad regime, reportedly agreeing on a decentralized state system for Syria and handing over key cities, including Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, to the regime.
The YPG's ultimate aim is to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria by connecting the northwestern Afrin canton to the Kobani and Jazeera regions in the northeast. However, with Turkey's successful operation in Afrin and cooperation on Manbij with the U.S., the group's autonomy plans, which Ankara terms a "terror corridor," won't pan out.
Pundits have claimed that the YPG's efforts on reaching a deal with Assad were due to the recent steps in Manbij between the U.S. and Turkey, which has proposed the withdrawal of the group from the province.