16:29 GMT +314 December 2019
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    United Nations (UN) special envoy Staffan de Mistura (C-L) sits facing Syria's main opposition group during Syrian peace talks at the UN Offices in Geneva. (File)

    Turkey Prevents Kurds From Taking Part in Intra-Syrian Peace Talks

    © AFP 2019 / FABRICE COFFRINI
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    Turkey is preventing Syrian Kurds from taking part in the intra-Syrian peace talks, thus undermining the effectiveness of the negotiations, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to the Russian envoy, the United States and other Western members of the UN Security Council are unwilling to influence Ankara’s position, which is not helping in making the Syria peace talks effective.

    "Turkey is completely irrationally obstructing the Syrian Kurds’ participation in the talks, thus inadvertently pushing them towards ‘separatist thinking.’ Although this is exactly what Ankara fears," Churkin told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

    A new round of intra-Syrian talks started in Geneva on Wednesday as UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met with the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) delegation. The Damascus delegation said it would join the talks after parliamentary elections, which took place in Syria on Wednesday.

    Kurds did not receive an official invitation either to the current or previous rounds of talks. The Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) claims that its participation in the intra-Syrian talks was blocked by Ankara because of its assumed links to the pro-independence Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), active in southeastern Turkey and marked as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

    Participants of the Syrian peace process, including Russia, have repeatedly stressed that reconciliation talks will fail to reach a political settlement unless the Syrian Kurds are allowed to participate.

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    Syrian conflict, Syrian Kurds, Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee (HNC)
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