Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Sochi talks

December 21, 2017 13:12
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BEIRUT - Kurdish-led Syrian groups plan to attend Russia's proposed Syria peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Kurdish officials have said.

The Syria peace congress was originally scheduled for Nov. 18 but was postponed and the Kremlin said on Thursday that no new date had been set.

If the invitation is renewed, "we will attend Sochi and every other meeting that concerns the Syrian crisis as representatives of the people's will" Sihanouk Depo, an official of Syria's main Kurdish party, PYD, told an affiliated website on Wednesday.

"We are still invited," Badran Jia Kurd, a senior Kurdish official, told Reuters on Thursday. If the framework for the congress still stands, "we will attend," said Jia Kurd, an adviser to the administration that governs Kurdish-led autonomous regions of Syria.

It would mark the first time Syria's main Kurdish groups are brought into peace talks. Although they now run at least a quarter of Syria, they have so far been left out of international talks in line with Turkish wishes.

Before the Sochi talks were postponed, the PYD said in November it had been invited and favored attending.

Since the conflict erupted in 2011, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and its allies have carved out autonomous cantons in the north. The YPG spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias fighting Islamic State militants with Washington's backing.

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