Turkey, Russia urge Syrian Kurds to deal with Damascus

Turkey and Russia are pressuring Syrian Kurds in the northern part of the country to engage with the Damascus government in the south, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The two countries issued a joint statement with Iran, announcing support for Syria’s territorial integrity and expressing concern with separatist groups in Kurdish-controlled areas to the east of River Euphrates.

Damascus has shown no willingness to discuss proposals by Kurdish groups. Options put forth by Kurdish leaders include federal solutions for the country.

Meanwhile Russia has prevented a military incursion into the region by Turkey, and increased air strikes on Syrian rebel groups Turkey backs, Reuters said.

Ankara views the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), allied with the United States and the International Coalition against ISIS, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for four decades that is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Turkey has carried out several incursions into the area since 2016, and currently controls a significant portion of northern Syria.

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