SUN 20 - 1 - 2019
Jan 9, 2019
The Daily Star
Syrian government has ‘activated’ contacts with Kurdish groups ‘in light of Turkish intervention’
DAMASCUS/ANKARA: A Syrian government minister expressed optimism Wednesday over dialogue with Kurdish groups that want to strike a political deal with Damascus, part of their efforts to stave off a threatened Turkish attack.
Faisal Mekdad, the Syrian deputy foreign minister, said "past experiences" with the Kurdish groups had not been "encouraging". But he signaled approval of recent statements by Kurdish groups affirming they are part of Syria, saying "the conditions" were favorable for them return to the state.
"Therefore I am always optimistic ... 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," he told a small group of journalists including Reuters.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said earlier in the day that Turkey will not refrain from military action to protect its borders from what he describes as threats posed by Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The minister spoke a day after Turkey rejected U.S. national security adviser John Bolton's demands for assurances that Ankara would protect Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria before U.S. troops pull out from the region.
Turkey's rebuff amplified a rift between Ankara and Washington and raised new questions about how the United States would protect fighters who are U.S. allies in the war against Daesh (ISIS).
Cavusoglu told Turkey's parliamentary foreign affairs committee the U.S. was "struggling to withdraw" from Syria because it was too far engaged with the militia group.
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