Wednesday 20 March 2019
News ID: 61848
Publish Date: 09 January 2019 - 21:46
DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – The Syrian government has "activated" contacts with Kurdish groups "in light of Turkish intervention", Faisal Mekdad, the Arab Republic's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.
He added that there is no alternative to dialogue with the Kurdish groups.
"Therefore I am always optimistic… we encourage these political groups to be sincere in dialog that is happening now between the Syrian state and these groups, taking into account that there is no alternative to that," he said.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara was ready to launch a military operation against the YPG if the United States did not compel them to abandon territory they had taken to the west of the Euphrates River.
In December, the Syrian government sent troops to Manbij "after Kurdish militants appealed to Damascus for help against the threat of attack by Turkey in the face of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area", according to media reports.
The U.S.' support for Syrian Kurdish militants has long soured bilateral relations with Ankara, which considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, and is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey.
Turkey considers that the YPG presence near its border threatens its national security.
A top Syrian Kurdish politician told Reuters last week that the Kurdish groups had presented a "road map” for a deal with Damascus during recent meetings at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.
If such a deal could be agreed, it would piece back together the two biggest chunks of a country splintered by eight years of war and leave one corner of the northwest in the hands of anti-Assad militants backed by Turkey.
The immediate priority for the Kurdish-led authorities of northern Syria is to find a way to shield the region from Turkey, which views the Kurdish YPG militants as a national security threat.
Turkey has already sent its army into Syria twice to push back the YPG. But it has held off attacking the large Kurdish-controlled area of the northeast where U.S. forces operate.
Mekdad said he was certain all "foreign forces” would withdraw from Syria.

The Syrian government has "activated" contacts with Kurdish groups "in light of Turkish intervention", Faisal Mekdad, the Arab Republic's deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday.



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