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Russia calls for dialogue between Syrian government and Kurds

Russia has called for dialogue between the Syrian government and Kurdish forces controlling northern Syria amid Washington’s green light for Ankara’s upcoming military operation against the Kurdish forces.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, urged for “dialogue between the central government in Damascus and representatives of the Kurdish communities that traditionally reside” in the country.

Lavrov said that Russia had contacted representatives of both Kurdish militants and the Syrian government in a bid to encourage talks between the two.

The Russian foreign minister added that talks were “the only way toward stability”.

Lavrov’s remarks come after Washington announced earlier this week that the US had begun withdrawing troops from Syria’s Kurdish-controlled border region with Turkey, allowing Ankara to proceed with a planned operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

Turkey considers the YPG as a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

Turkey’s upcoming military operation against the Kurds has also prompted Damascus’ condemnation. Syria views Turkish presence on its territory as an infringement of its national sovereignty.

Speaking on Wednesday, Lavrov stressed the need to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity.

He further added that Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had confirmed that Ankara respects Syria’s sovereignty during an earlier phone call.

Lavrov also censured Washington’s decision allowing the Turkish incursion to take place, adding that Kurdish forces fear Washington’s moves could “ignite the whole region.”

“This must be avoided at all costs,” he added.