SDF chief seeks UAE mediation with Syria, visits Abu Dhabi: Al-Monitor
The commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces is eyeing the UAE as a mediator between the Kurdish administration in Syria and the Syrian government.
The Commander-in-Chief of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) armed group, Mazloum Abdi, recently visited the United Arab Emirates and met with Emirati officials in Abu Dhabi, the US-based Al-Monitor website reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the news website, the visit was aimed at discussing the UAE's possible role as a mediator in the talks between the so-called Kurdish Autonomous Administration in Syria and the Syrian government regarding the Kurdish issue.
A regional source claimed that Abdi, during his visit to the UAE alongside the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Bafel Talabani, met with UAE National Security Adviser TAhnoun bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, who was recently appointed deputy leader of Abu Dhabi.
The UAE denies that such a meeting has taken place.
"The claims referenced in your email are false and unfounded," a UAE official responded to a request for comment sent out by Al-Monitor regarding Abu Dhabi's mediation between the Kurds and Damascus.
However, regional officials stressed that the visit did, indeed, take place, saying it was "one hundred percent true."
Badran Jia Kurd, the deputy co-chair of the autonomous administration of north and east Syria, said the UAE "expressed its interest in helping the Syrian Kurds reach an agreement with the Syria government."
"[The Emiratis] said they are ready to help, but so far, we do not have a clear roadmap," he said in an interview on April 28, refusing to comment on whether Abdi recently traveled to the UAE.
Reportedly, Abdi's UAE trip came before Turkey targeted him with a UAV attack in Sulaymaniyah in early April.
Al Mayadeen correspondent reported an explosion near the perimeter of Sulaimaniyah International Airport in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region caused by a drone missile that reportedly targeted Abdi.
"This evening, April 7, 2023, at 4:18 pm, an explosion happened near the fences of the Sulaimaniyah International Airport," the Security Directorate of the Airport confirmed in a statement.
The source argued that the aim of the Turkish strike was for Ankara to voice its frustration over the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan traveling to the UAE with Abdi.
Abdi had underlined in late April that he would like for the SDF to reach a deal with Syria in light of fears about Damascus normalizing ties with Turkey.
This comes after Turkish Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu criticized in late April the US' attempts at creating a "terrorist state" on Turkey's borders, referring to an independent Kurdish state, and said that Ankara is taking the necessary measures to prevent this enterprise.
The minister noted that Turkey has been fighting terrorism for 4 decades, but the risk of a "terrorist state" persists as the US continues to intervene in the region. Turkey has been engaged in a deadly conflict with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) since 1984 and has recurrently condemned the US for arming Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
Back in early April, Turkey announced that it had closed its airspace for all flights from Iraq's Suleymaniyah airport, in the Iraqi Kurdistan region due to tensions with the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants in the region.