Syr­ian govt hopes talks with Kurds will in­ten­sify: Min­is­ter

Khaleej Times - - MIDDLE EAST -

da­m­as­cus — The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment hopes di­a­logue with Syr­ian Kur­dish groups will in­ten­sify, a min­is­ter said on Sun­day, sig­nalling sup­port for talks the Kurds hope will lead to a po­lit­i­cal deal be­tween two of the main play­ers in the multi-sided war.

The Kurds have sought Rus­sian med­i­ta­tion for the talks with Pres­i­dent Bashar Al As­sad’s gov­ern­ment, part of their strat­egy to fill a vac­uum that will be left when US forces with­draw from the coun­try, as in­structed by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Their aim is to guard against any in­va­sion by neigh­bour­ing Tur­key, which views the main Syr­ian Kur­dish group — the YPG — as a na­tional se­cu­rity threat, and to pre­serve au­ton­omy in north­ern Syria.

“We hope for the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of the di­a­logue. Many of the Kur­dish state­ments were pos­i­tive re­gard­ing their con­cern for the unity of Syria,” As­sis­tant Syr­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Ay­man Sou­san told a small group of jour­nal­ists in Da­m­as­cus.

“We are con­fi­dent that through di­a­logue we can deal with some of the de­mands ... and this di­a­logue guar­an­tees that, as long as it based on a com­mit­ment to Syria’s unity.”

A po­lit­i­cal deal could piece back to­gether the two big­gest chunks of a coun­try splin­tered by eight years of war, leav­ing one cor­ner of the north­west in the hands of an­tiAs­sad rebels backed by Tur­key — an ad­ver­sary of both the YPG and Da­m­as­cus.

AFP

A Syr­ian soldier ges­tures as he sits with com­rades atop a tank be­ing trans­ported near the north­ern town of Man­bij. —

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