ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova announced on Thursday that Russia continues to support greater communication between the Syrian government and Kurdish groups in the country’s northeastern provinces.
“We support the development of dialogue between Damascus and the Kurds, which is designed to promote the consolidation of Syrian society and national reconciliation,” Zakharova said.
She added, however, that areas east of the Euphrates now under the control of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) should be under the jurisdiction of national forces.
“We would like to note again that to effectively counter the jihadists and stabilize the territory beyond the Euphrates River as a whole, this territory needs to be placed under the control of the legitimate authorities,” Zakharova continued.
“This would help Syria and would also make it possible to alleviate the national security concerns of the neighboring countries,” she claimed, in an indirect reference to Turkey, which opposes the SDF and has made repeated threats to attack Kurdish groups in Syria.
Despite the US intention to withdraw from from the embattled country, she said, “no practical steps have been taken.”
“Under the circumstances, the main goal is to prevent an aggravation of the situation and the escalation of tensions in the northeastern regions of Syria,” she added.
Zakharova also said the recent attack in Manbij that killed dozens of people, including four Americans, should be condemned.
Meanwhile, she said, Russia would continue to work “with Iran and Turkey in coordination with Syrian parties and the UN to launch the Constitutional Committee in Geneva.”
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Moscow for discussions on the US withdrawal from Syria.
During the meeting, Putin also voiced support for communication between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Syria’s Kurds as the US withdraws.
“This dialogue will contribute to the consolidation of the Syrian society and national reconciliation and will be useful not only for Syria but for all neighboring states as well,” Putin was quoted in the Russian Tass news agency.
A spokesperson for the Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM), Aldar Xelîl, told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday that the group’s contacts with Russia are continuing, in part, to add additional pressure on Damascus to negotiate with Syrian Kurds.
In an interview, he said that Russia could play a role as a guarantor between the Syrian Kurds and Damascus.
However, he said that there had so far been no negotiations with the regime, but that he saw recent statements from Syrian officials as a positive indication and that they could pave the way for the start of greater cooperation between the two.
Editing by John J. Catherine