08:23 GMT +317 October 2019
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    A man holds the flag of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)

    Syrian Kurds Should Attend Peace Talks Amid Dispute Over Terrorist Label

    © AFP 2019 / Louisa Gouliamaki
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    Syria’s Kurds should be included in upcoming peace talks regardless of who claims they are terrorists, given that they represent 10 percent of the population and have fought hard against Daesh terror group, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the intra-Syrian reconciliation talks to be held in Geneva on Friday will fail to result in a political settlement without the participation of the Syrian Kurds, namely from the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

    Turkish officials have sought to exclude the PYD, which they view as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

    Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey makes no distinction between the PKK, PYD and the Islamic State, which is also known as Daesh and is outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

    "The Syrian Kurds make-up 10 percent of the population of Syria and should be included," University of Oklahoma Center for Middle East Studies Director Joshua Landis told Sputnik on Tuesday. "Claiming that they are terrorists is not an excuse for excluding them."

    Landis added that considering members of the Syrian opposition and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government have exchanged terrorist allegations to no effect, and there should not be an exception when it comes to the Kurds.

    "Russia and Assad argued that Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Army are terrorists and no one cares. The Syrian opposition argued that Assad and the Syrian Army are terrorists and they are represented," Landis explained. "Why shouldn't the Kurds be represented?"

    US author, radio show host and political activist Stephen Lendman told Sputnik that Turkey itself has been involved in backing extremists groups.

    "ISIS, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and various other terrorist groups. We know about Turkey’s involvement supporting them," Lendman stated.

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who scheduled the much-anticipated talks between Syrian government and opposition delegates to be held on Friday in Geneva, began issuing official invitations on Tuesday.

    Qadri Jamil, one of the leaders of the Syrian Popular Front for Change and Liberation coalition, told Sputnik that PYD chair Saleh Muslim was included in the list of moderate opposition members, but could not confirm whether he had received de Mistura’s invitation.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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