Syrian minister optimistic on talks with Kurdish groups

Syrian minister optimistic on talks with Kurdish groups – Ahval

The Syrian deputy foreign minister on Wednesday expressed optimism over dialogue with Kurdish groups looking to strike a political deal with Damascus, suggesting progress had been made in contacts mediated by Russia, Turkish left-wing news site Gazete Duvar reported.

“I feel that we must always be optimistic. The past experiences were not encouraging. But now matters are reaching their conclusion,” Faisal Mikdad told reporters.

The minister’s comments arrive following calls by Syrian Kurdish groups on Damascus to deploy troops at the border with Turkey amid Ankara’s plans to launch a third military operation into neighbouring Syria.

Syria’s military arrived at the frontline of the flashpoint northern town of Manbij on Dec. 28, after which Turkey-backed Syrian rebel groups said that they had also begun moving towards the town, fully prepared for a military operation.

Kurdish-led groups, namely the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who control swathes of northern Syria have revived contacts with Damascus following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from their region.

citing the threat it poses to Turkey in the region and its aspirations to form a new state.

Mikdad signalled approval of recent statements by Kurdish groups affirming they are part of the Syrian state and nation, saying “the conditions” were favorable for them return to the state.

“… We encourage these political groups to be sincere in dialogue that is happening now between the Syrian state and these groups, taking into account that there is no alternative to that,” Mikdad said, adding that he was certain all foreign forces would withdraw from the country.

If Damascus and Kurdish groups strike a deal, it would piece back together the two of the largest chunks of a country that has been shattered by eight years of war .

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