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    Iraqi Kurds May Mend Kurdish-Turkish Ties If Invited to Intra-Syrian Talks

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    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)
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    The Iraqi Kurds should be invited to intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, where they can speed up settlement and cessation of hostilities, as well as facilitate strained relationship between Turkey and Syrian Kurds, Xosawi Bebekir, Iraqi Kurdistan representative to Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the two-day meeting, brokered by Moscow, Ankara and Tehran, between the Syrian government and opposition groups concluded in the Kazakh capital. As a result of the talks, Russia, Iran and Turkey decided to establish a trilateral mechanism to monitor the ceasefire in Syria.

    "International community has to include Kurds, Iraqi Kurds but especially Syrian Kurds, in these [intra-Syrian] negotiations. Syrian Kurds have bad relations with Turkey, they mainly have to operate through Iraqi Kurdistan, all economic, and many political questions are decided with the help from Iraqi Kurds. In the future they [Turkey and Syrian Kurds] can cooperate on fight against terrorism. Iraqi Kurds can help Syrian Kurds," Bebekir said, asked how Iraqi Kurds can help in the Syrian settlement.

    He added that Iraqi Kurds could also use its influence on the Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as speed up ceasefire implementation in war-torn country.

    "Iraqi Kurds also play a big role equally to Iran and Turkey. Unfortunately, they were not invited [to Astana talks]," Bebekir noted.

    Tensions between Ankara and Turkish Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) collapsed over a series of terrorist attacks, allegedly committed by the Kurdish organizations, considered as terrorist groups by Ankara.

    Geneva hosted several rounds of UN-sponsored talks on Syrian reconciliation, but neither Syrian, nor Iraqi Kurds were invited. The lack of the Syrian Kurds, one of the largest ethnic groups of the crisis-torn country, had been repeatedly criticized by participants of the Syrian peace process, including Russia.

    The next round of UN-mediated talks in Geneva is expected to take place on February 8. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the issue of Kurdish participation in the intra-Syrian talks would be agreed upon in early February.

    Bebekir also noted that the peace talks dedicated to ceasefire implementation and monitoring may lead to discussions of other crucial points, such as the future type of governing system in the war-torn country.

    "In past meetings there was no such desire to meet, come to consensus to where and how this ceasefire should be implemented, [in Astana] this issue has become more detailed. This is good initiative, because if the Syrian war is over, then other issues can be discussed, such as the governing system in Syria and which one will be more effective," Bebekir said.

    He also noted strong presence of opposition factions at Astana talks, where up to 15 armed groups were headed by Jaysh al-Islam leader Mohammed Alloush, while terrorist groups such as Ahrar al-Sham and the Nusra Front did not participate in the talks.

    Topic:
    Syrian Peace Talks in Astana (173)

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    Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Astana
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