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Syrian Kurds should begin dialog with Damascus: Russia

Russia says Syria’s Kurdish militants should begin dialog with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the United States — hitherto backing them on the ground — is preparing to withdraw from the Arab country.

According to Press TV, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday said “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 dialog between the Kurds and Damascus,” adding, “We support this dialog between Damascus and the Kurds.”

Most of the Kurdish militants in northern Syria are members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a US-backed militant group that forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF, which has been fighting against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, has set up what is effectively a semi-autonomous administration in northern Syria during the country’s seven-year conflict.

US President Donald Trump said abruptly in December last year that a full withdrawal of all the 2,000 US troops in the Arab country would happen soon.

With the planned withdrawal of the US, the Kurds would be exposed to possible Turkish military action as Ankara regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. The PKK militants have been fighting with the Turkish army for an autonomous region inside the Anatolian country since 1984.

The prospect of a new conflict involving Turkey and the Kurds now looms ever larger over the horizon as Daesh’s territory has also significantly withered.

“The Kurds are a part of the population of Syria,” Vershinin further said. “We know about the problems between Damascus and the Kurds but I think there is a solution through dialog.”

Syrian Kurds have as recently as January shown willingness to work with Damascus.

At the same venue in Munich, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reiterated his country’s charges against the YPG, calling it a “terrorist group.”

“Our main concern before and after the withdrawal of the Americans is the safety and security of our border and our people,” Akar said, also on Sunday.