• 02:43
  • 19.08.2019
Russia invites Kurds to Syrian congress
politics
18.08.2019

Russia invites Kurds to Syrian congress

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Russia has invited the Kurdish-led authorities in northern Syria to its proposed congress of Syria's rival parties in November, a senior Kurdish official says, as Moscow seeks to launch a new initiative to end the Syrian conflict.
"We are studying the issue and our stance has been positive so far," Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the administration that governs Kurdish-led autonomous regions of Syria, told Reuters.
It would mark the first time Syria's main Kurdish groups have been brought into peace talks. Although they now control at least a quarter of Syria, Kurdish authorities have so far been left out of international talks in line with Turkish wishes.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent warplanes to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military against mostly Sunni rebels in 2015, first mentioned the congress earlier this month.
Putin has said it would include "all ethnic and religious groups, and the government, and the opposition".
Syria's UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, said Damascus was ready to take part in the congress and that the time was now more appropriate to join such talks after its military victories.
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Since Russia's intervention in 2015, the government has taken back significant territory from rebels opposed to Assad and has this year recaptured swathes of central and eastern Syria from Islamic State.
Moscow has said the congress will focus on "compromise solutions" towards ending the conflict, which began more than six years ago with street protests against the Syrian leader.
A spokesman for the Syrian opposition, which wants peace talks to take place under UN supervision, described the proposed congress as "really worrying".
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