TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Syrian Kurdish leaders aim to secure a Russian-mediated political deal with President Bashar al-Assad’s government regardless of US plans to withdraw from their region, a senior Kurdish official said.

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The Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northern Syria presented a roadmap for an agreement with Assad during recent meetings in Russia and are awaiting Moscow’s response, Badran Jia Kurd, who attended,  told Reuters.

The talks with Russia and new overtures towards Damascus underline a recalibration of Kurdish strategy since President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw US forces.

Jia Kurd welcomed the idea of a slow withdrawal but said the United States had not discussed the pullout with its Syrian allies who were caught off guard by Trump’s announcement.

To fill the expected vacuum, they want Russia to help secure a Syrian army deployment at the northern border. This is part of a wider effort to strike a deal with Damascus they hope will also safeguard their regional autonomy.

Jia Kurd said Russia had agreed to mediate.

“The final decision is (to reach an) agreement with Damascus, we will work in this direction regardless of the cost, even if the Americans object,” Jia Kurd said in the northern Syrian city of Qamishli.

“Our view is that (Russia) is trying to open new horizons with Damascus, this is what we sensed from them.”

Damascus and the YPG have mostly avoided confrontation during the war. At times, they have even fought common foes.

They convened political talks last year in Damascus, but these broke down without progress. Jia Kurd said the need for Damascus to enter serious dialogue was now more pressing.

The main aims of the roadmap are to protect the border from Turkey, to find a way to integrate the governing structures of northern Syria into the constitution, and to ensure a fair distribution of resources in northern and eastern Syria.