Russia says Syrian Kurds should start dialogue with Syrian gov’t
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin on Sunday said Syria’s Kurds should start a dialogue with President Bashar Assad as their military allies as Washington prepares to pull out of the region, France 24 news reported.
“We support this dialogue between Damascus and the Kurds,” Vershinin said.
The statement from the deputy foreign minister of Russia arrives amid plans by Turkey for a third military operation into neighbouring Syria, targeting the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara designates a terrorist organisation and has vowed to destroy.
Kurdish fighters have spearheaded Washington’s fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region, with soon-to-leave U.S. troops acting as a shield against any Turkish offensive.
During this week’s Munich Security Conference Vershinin echoed the same view, stating, “If there are no foreign troops on the ground of Syria’s northeastern part, I think that the best solution would be to start up a dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus.”
“The Kurds are a part of the population of Syria ... We know about the problems between Damascus and the Kurds but I think there is a solution through dialogue,” he added.
The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran met in Russia's Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Feb. 14 to once again discuss the Syrian conflict under the framework of the Russian-sponsored Astana Process, particularly in light of the U.S. withdrawal.
Turkey’s plans for a security zone in northern Syria to clear Kurdish forces it views as terrorists has not finalised since early January, when U.S. President Donald Trump first raised the possibility.