Listen Live
    Turkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area, Syria, from Turkish side of the border in Hatay, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018

    Syrian Gov't 'Activates' Contacts With Kurds 'in Light of Turkish Intervention'

    © AP Photo /
    Middle East
    Get short URL
    3503

    Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara was ready to launch a military operation against the YPG if the United States did not compel them to abandon territory they had taken to the west of the Euphrates River.

    The Syrian government has "activated" contacts with Kurdish Groups "in light of Turkish intervention", Faisal Mekdad, Arab Republic's deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said on Wednesday.

    "In light of the [possible] Turkish invasion, we have recently stepped up contacts with the Kurdish side and intensified them to reflect the challenges that threaten the region," Mikdad told reporters.

    At the same time, he noted that several rounds of talks were held with the Kurds in 2018. Mikdad stressed that he remained positive and did not believe that the situation had reached "an impasse." He went on saying that there is no alternative to dialogue with the Kurdish groups.

    "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 said.

    READ MORE: YPG Offers to Surrender its Zones in Syria for Kurdish Autonomy — Reports

    Turkey-US Row Over Troops Pullout

    US National Security Adviser John Bolton spent 7 January in Israel, assuring the country's officials that the US troops withdrawal would not leave Syria until Turkey agrees not to attack US-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

    Speaking about the planned US troops withdrawal from Syria on the same day, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin underlined that Ankara would not let the move to create new opportunities for terrorists, urging Washington to Turkey to seize arms given to the Syrian Kurdish militia.

    READ MORE: Erdogan Calls Bolton's Remark on Kurdish Militias 'Serious Mistake'

    As Kalin noted, Erdogan did not pledge in contacts with Trump to protect the Kurdish militia in Syria. As for the planned Turkish military operation in Syria, the spokesman stressed that Ankara would not seek permission to coordinate it.

    The US' support for Syrian Kurdish fighters has long soured bilateral relations with Ankara, which considers one of the Kurdish militant groups, the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey.

    Turkey considers that the YPG presence near its border threatens its national security.

    Damascus Sent Troops to Help Kurds

    In December, the Syrian government sent troops to Manbij "after Kurdish fighters appealed to Damascus for help against the threat of attack by Turkey in the face of the withdrawal of US troops from the area", according to media reports.

    Related:

    Turkey Reportedly to Ask US to Hand Over Military Bases in Syria
    Erdogan Says Only Turkey Can Protect US Interests in Syria Amid Troop Pullout
    US Doesn't Want Turkey to Take Military Action in Syria - Bolton
    Tags:
    Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Turkey, Syria, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik