Swedish delegation visits North & East Syria. Syriac Union Party’s Abeer Eliya: “strong Swedish condemnation of Turkish occupation of our regions”

ZALIN (QAMISHLI), Syria –An official delegation from the Swedish Foreign Ministry visited the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria this Saturday. The Swedish delegation included charge d’affair for Syria at the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Per Örnéus and Thomas Marcus (Foreign and Humanitarian aid, Sweden). They were accompanied by Avin Jetin from the Brussels European Institute for Peace. The visit by the Swedish delegation comes only days after Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, acting as rotating OSCE head, visited Ankara for talks.

The delegation was received by the DAA’s  External Relations Department in Zalin (Qamishli). Co-Vice President of the External Relations Department Abeer Eliya (SUP: Syriac Union Party) indicated after the meeting that the Swedish visit to the DAA is the second in its kind and aims to discuss the situation of Syria in general and the DAA’s situation in particular. Sweden thanked the DAA for its efforts in defeating ISIS terrorists and the two sides discussed the situation in IDP camps established in Hasakah city. The DAA asked the delegation to visit and provide Swedish assistance to the IDPs, and help find a solution for the pressing issues around ISIS detainees and al-Hol camp which holds tens of thousands of ISIS families.

The talks focused on attacks, violations, and displacements caused by the Turkish occupation and the Turkish-backed militant and Islamist groups of the Syrian National Army. Eliya said that Sweden strongly condemns the Turkish occupation of our regions and that the Turkish occupation should immediately stop. The delegation seems to reiterate the apparent message conveyed by Swedish FM Ann Linde to Turkish FM Mevlut Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. At their joint press conference after their meeting, Turkish FM Mevlut Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told the press that Ann Linde had “urged” Turkey to withdraw from northeastern Syria.

Swedish charge d’affair for Syria Per Örnéus commented to the press on his visit and said that “The Autonomous Administration has a big role regionally and internationally” and that many European countries want to see the DAA at the negotiation table and involve in a political solution for Syria.

Khabur – The Syriac Union Party, co-founder of the DAA, and the Syriac Military Council, co-founder of the SDF, have fought hard to protect the Khabur Valley centered around Tel Tamr and worked hard to make it a separate DAA-canton and safe haven for Syriacs-Assyrians to return to. The Syriac Military Council is mobilized in the Khabur Valley.

Turkey and affiliated militant and Islamist groups have continuously tried to thwart this and continued to attack the Khabur. So far, the attempts to create the safe haven for Syriacs-Assyrians has not succeeded. With the Turkish occupation of parts of North and East Syria these efforts seem unattainable.