The PKK-linked and YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces has agreed with the Bashar al Assad regime to form joint committees for a road map leading to a "decentralised Syria," the group says.

YPG terrorists stand outside a house in Raqqa, Syria on June 21, 2017.
YPG terrorists stand outside a house in Raqqa, Syria on June 21, 2017. (Reuters Archive)

A US-backed militant group said on Saturday that it is seeking a roadmap for a decentralised Syria in talks with the Syrian regime which opened in Damascus this week.

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which controls a swathe of the north and northeast, said it had agreed with the regime to form joint committees to discuss the major issues after a first round of talks on Thursday and Friday.

The SDF is dominated by the PYD/YPG, a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which Turkey and the US have designated as a terror group, and has been fighting the Turkish state for over 30 years.

Syria Democratic Council, the political umbrella of the SDF said the aim was to "clear the way for a broader and more comprehensive dialogue" and forge a "roadmap leading to a democratic and decentralised Syria."

TRT World's Oubai Shahbandar explains the significance of the talks.

'Long and arduous negotiations'

Sihanouk Dibo, an adviser to the PYD said he expected the negotiations to be tough.

"It is still very early to talk of an agreement but we are working on it," he said.

"The negotiations will be long and arduous because the Damascus regime is very centralised."

This marks the first diplomatic relation and approach between Assad regime and a US-backed group since 2011.

Before civil war erupted in 2011, Syria had a highly centralised structure which provided no constitutional recognition for the rights of the Syrian-Kurds.

But after the regime forces pulled out of northern areas in 2012, the SDF militants seized the opportunity to set up their own administrations.

A US special forces soldier (L) is seen wearing a YPJ -YPG's female armed wing- badge in late May 2016 when they were operating against Daesh in Syria’s Raqqa province.
A US special forces soldier (L) is seen wearing a YPJ -YPG's female armed wing- badge in late May 2016 when they were operating against Daesh in Syria’s Raqqa province. (Delil Souleiman / AFP)

'Negotiable autonomy'

The Syrian regime has opposed the scope of the self-rule sought by the SDF but late last year Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said a "form of autonomy" was "negotiable".

In late May, Syrian regime leader, Bashar al Assad said the country was prepared to open talks with the SDF but stressed that it remained ready to use force if necessary to ensure the return of the regime troops and its institutions to SDF-held areas.

The SDF did not give a date for any new round of talks.

Between them, Assad's Russian-backed regime and the US-backed SDF control around 90 percent of Syrian territory following major defeats for the opposition as well as Daesh terror group over the past two years.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies