Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES): Initiative to Solve the Syrian Crisis
First published at Peace in Kurdistan.
In 2011, a revolutionary popular movement started in Syria as a result of exclusion and marginalization, which led to an ongoing political crisis that has not been resolved yet. Based on our responsibility towards the Syrian people in all its diversity and pursuant to the principles and political vision of the Syrian Democratic Council that aim at finding a political solution for the Syrian crisis, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), which consists of democratic institutions, administrations, political parties, forces and organizations, proposes this initiative to achieve a peaceful and democratic solution that could put an end to the suffering of millions of Syrians.
The Syrian crisis has had political, economic, and social repercussions. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians lost their lives. Millions from Jarabulus, Al-Bab, Azaz, Idleb, Afrin, Ras Al-Ain (Sere Kaniye), Tal Abyad (Girê Spî), and other Syrian areas were forced to leave their homes and become either internally displaced or refugees.
A large number of Syrians have been subjected to inhumane practices in some refugee-hosting countries. The devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023 exacerbated the suffering of the Syrian IDPs and refugees. The Turkish government, led by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have discriminated against the Syrian refugees in the provision of humanitarian aid. Across Syria, the Syrian people are experiencing difficult living conditions and are facing serious problems, such as poverty, unemployment, racism, insecurity and instability, which were further exacerbated by the earthquake.
The diverse communities of the Syrian people must not continue to suffer from the catastrophic humanitarian situation. They are awaiting an urgent peaceful solution that guarantees security, stability, and a democratic future that ensures a free and decent life in their country.
Accordingly, all responsible political forces must work together and take the required steps in order to find a common solution based on the foundations of dialogue, cooperation and consensus.
The AANES is aware of its responsibility towards all Syrians. Therefore, it will strive to take the necessary steps to resolve the crisis and establish peace and stability, taking into consideration that the international and regional platforms and initiatives, such as Geneva, Astana, the Constitutional Committee and others, have not yielded any significant results in the context of providing a solution to the Syrian crisis. This may be due to the following main reasons:
- Absence of correct analysis and diagnosis of the Syrian crisis;
- Absence of a program for a peaceful and democratic solution;
- Excluding some active Syrian forces from the dialogue process, and insisting on external solutions.
In addition, the Syrian authority failed to play a positive and effective role that could lead to a political solution to the Syrian crisis. It should have, from the outset, searched for a peaceful settlement to the crisis and called on all parties to find a way out, but it remained outside this equation, which delayed the solution and prolonged the crisis, leading to further suffering of the Syrians.
The solution to the Syrian crisis must be sought inside the country, and the Syrian government must show a responsible stance and take urgent measures that could contribute to the success of finding an internal solution.
It is crucial that all political forces, including political parties and women’s and youth organizations, regardless of whether they are large or small, be given a voice in drawing the future of Syria’s administration. This is of utmost importance to achieve peace and stability.
Syria is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. Any viable solution must involve all groups in determining their future and resolving Syria’s crisis.
In order to achieve this, the following points must be clarified:
1. The AANES affirms the unity of the Syrian lands, and believes that the problems that Syria is experiencing can only be solved within the framework of Syria’s unity. In this context and in order to achieve a solution, the AANES affirms its readiness to meet and hold dialogue with the Syrian government and all Syrian parties for consultations and discussions to provide initiatives to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
2. The Syrian crisis resulted from the lack of democratic and social policies and the marginalization of Syria’s diverse ethnic and religious communities. Each ethnic and religious group has its own characteristics and the right to citizenship and equality. There are national commonalities among all Syrians, and different cultures that must be recognized and respected to enrich Syria’s national fabric. Therefore, any democratic solution should recognize the legitimate rights of all religious and ethnic communities, such as the Arabs, Kurds, Syriac-Assyrians, and others. The collective rights of Syria’s communities must be protected, and democratic values and mechanisms must be developed in order to build an administrative political system based on democracy, pluralism, and decentralization, that ensures equal rights for all Syrians.
3. The democratic political system in North and East Syria (NES) has ensured equal rights for all people. People can live freely in an atmosphere of security and stability. They can solve their problems through the autonomous administrations, which allow people to run their own affairs in order to overcome any obstacles and challenges that may arise.
It has been proven beyond any doubt that social democratic harmony and stability have been achieved through the participation of all political, cultural and social groups in the administrations.
We believe that the social, democratic and environmental model of governance in NES, which is based on gender equality and environmental sustainability, is capable of forming a foundation and a building block for reaching a solution to the Syrian crisis. It can provide successful solutions to all issues that the Syrian society suffers from.
4. The AANES stresses that the economic wealth and resources must be distributed fairly among all Syrian regions. The resources in NES, such as oil, gas, and agriculture, like other resources in other regions of Syria, belong to all Syrians. The AANES stresses the need to reach an agreement with the Syrian government to share resources through dialogue and negotiation.
In order to address the basic needs of the population and to deliver aid to all areas, the Al-Yarubiyah (Tal Koçer) border crossing, as well as other crossings, must be reopened. The main responsibility in this regard lies with the Syrian government. A reasonable solution could be found that suits all parties and serve the interest of the Syrians.
5. To reduce and limit the problems and risks facing the Syrian people, from all communities, who have been displaced from their regions or sought refuge in other countries, the AANES expresses its willingness to embrace and receive them within its available resources, as it has received other Syrians since the beginning of its establishment. Accordingly, it will take the necessary measures in this regard.
6. The AANES affirms that its struggle and efforts in the fight against terrorism will be ongoing to deter the terrorism of Daesh (ISIS) and other terrorist groups, and to eliminate their threats to Syria, the region and the entire world. The AANES has lost thousands of its men and women in the fight against terrorism, and paid huge sacrifice to rid the world from terrorism on behalf of the whole world.
7. The Turkish government has deepened the Syrian crisis, dismantled the country’s territory and its unity, and supported terrorist groups, such as Daesh and others. The Turkish government’s intervention in Syria aims to divert attention from its internal crises and to export its problems to its neighbors through its aggression and the use of terrorist and mercenary groups in order to achieve its objectives. The aggressive practices of the Turkish State have led to human tragedies and human rights violations that cannot be tolerated, which led to changing the demographic composition of our region.
The causes of all the problems on the Syrian-Turkish border can be attributed to the aggressive policies of the AKP and MHP coalition government, which aims to influence Syria’s internal politics and reshape the political situation according to its interests. The pretexts and arguments that the AKP and MHP put forward to justify their hostility to the AANES is absolutely far from truth. The attempt to assassinate the Commander-in-Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Sulaymaniyah is the clearest evidence of this. The AANES does not have enmity with the Turkish people. The Turkish State must end its occupation of the Syrian lands. Our people want to live in peace with the Turkish people and all the neighboring countries, but we affirm that we will exercise our right to legitimate defense, in the event of any Turkish aggression on our people and land.
8. To develop a democratic and peaceful solution in Syria, we would like to address the Arab countries, the United Nations, and all active international powers in the Syrian issue, and ask them to play a positive and constructive role in finding a common solution with the Syrian government, the AANES, and the national democratic forces.
9. In order to resolve the crisis within the framework of the unity and integrity of Syria, and to develop and implement a political solution that protects and safeguards the interests of the Syrian people, the AANES has a clear approach to a reasonable solution that it proposes to all parties to be a basis for dialogue and future agreement. The AANES proposes this initiative as a national basis, and invites all parties to participate and contribute to it, by accelerating efforts and endeavors aimed at ending the conflict, in a manner that does not contradict Security Council Resolution (2254) and all relevant UN resolutions. The AANES is also ready to discuss all points of view and solution projects, and make the necessary arrangements to hold talks to achieve a national solution.
In order to solve the Syrian crisis, the AANES has assumed its historical and humanitarian responsibility, fully aware that hundreds of thousands of Syrians have lost their lives and millions are living in dire humanitarian situation. Based on this responsibility, the AANES calls on the Syrian government and all national democratic forces to respond to this initiative, and to work towards finding a common solution that ends the crisis and the suffering of the Syrians to build our homeland again.