Skip to main content
ALM Exclusive

Syria’s Kurds turn to UAE to ease tensions with Assad

An alleged trip to the UAE capital by Syrian Democratic Forces chief Mazloum Kobane, which Emirati officials deny, came just before he was targeted by a Turkish drone last month.
Read in 

QAMISHLI, Syria — The Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria is seeking the United Arab Emirates’ help to broker a deal with the Syrian regime amid fading confidence in the United States and Arab outreach to Damascus, Al-Monitor has learned.

Mazlum Kobane, commander in chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the United States’ premier ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS), recently traveled to the UAE, four well-informed sources and officials in the region speaking on condition of strict anonymity told Al-Monitor. Kobane met with UAE officials, two of the sources said, in order to seek Abu Dhabi’s help to press the Syrian Kurds’ case with the Assad regime. One of the regional sources said that Kobane met with the UAE’s national security adviser Tahnoun bin Zayed al Nahyan, who was named deputy ruler of Abu Dhabi on March 29.

The UAE denied that any such meeting had occurred.

"The claims referenced in your email are false and unfounded,” a UAE official said in an emailed response to Al-Monitor’s request for comment on the UAE's alleged mediation effort between the SDF and the regime.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.