03:50 GMT +320 January 2019
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    Residents of the Kurdish township of Jenderes in Afrin region in the north of Syria who fled from shellings by the Turkish Army are hiding in the caves in Haltan village

    Damascus Confirms Talks With Kurds Intensified Due to Threats by Turkey

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    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - Ayman Soussan, an assistant to the Syrian Foreign Minister, confirmed on Sunday that talks between Damascus and the Kurdish forces in Syria's northeast have intensified due to a possible Turkish military operation.

    "The Kurds are an integral part of the Syrian nation. We are sure that we are able to resolve a number of difficult issues through a dialogue, and this is guaranteed as long as the dialogue is based on the principle of territorial integrity of Syria and the unity of its people," Soussan said at a press conference, adding that the dialogue between Damascus and Kurds continued, but further intensified against the background of possible offensive against Kurds by Turkey.

    On Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said that Damascus intensified negotiations with Kurds in Syria's northeast in light of Turkey's pledges to launch an operation against Kurdish militias. He added that he remained optimistic regarding the talks' prospects and did not think that the negotiations were in a stalemate.

    In December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the Turkish army was ready to start an offensive against the Kurdish forces on the eastern bank of the Euphrates at the earliest opportunity. However, after talks with US President Donald Trump, who informed the Turkish counterpart of the US troops withdrawal from Syria, Erdogan shelved its plans, saying that the offensive would be launched only after the complete pullout of the US forces.

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    threat, talks, Syrian Kurds, Turkey, Damascus, Syria
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