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Syrian Kurds ‘sold out’ by initial backers who fueled their separatism, notes Lavrov

May 03, 2018, 12:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW

During the conflict most Syrian Kurds refrained from supporting either the government or the opposition

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/. All questions about Syrian Kurds being exploited for self-serving aims should be addressed to those who first fueled their separatist sentiment and helped them create law enforcement structures, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italy’s weekly Panorama in an interview, when asked why foreign actors were systematically using Syrian Kurds in their interests only to ditch supporting them afterwards.

"The questions about Kurds being used and sold out should be addressed not to us, but to those who fuel separatist sentiment and falsely promise patronage, those who prevent Syria’s legitimate government from restoring control over vast territories of the country, those who encouraged Kurds to unilaterally proclaim a ‘federation’ and formed its law enforcement and military structures having the functions that are an exclusive purview of the Syrian state," Lavrov explained.

He pointed out that charges of using Kurds could not be addressed to Russia by any means, because Russian military personnel was present in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s legitimate government for struggle against terrorist Islamic State (outlawed in Russia).

"Kurdish militias who were defending their homes and their land made their contribution to the defeat of terrorism. They acted as an integral part of Syrian society and as citizens of their country."

Lavrov said Moscow was systematically pressing for the Kurds’ participation in shaping Syria’s postwar future.

During the conflict most Syrian Kurds refrained from supporting either the government or the opposition. Their self-defense militias established control over their enclaves in the country’s northeast. In the spring of 2016 these territories proclaimed unilateral federalization, not recognized by Damascus, its opponents or the international community. A separate Kurdish delegation did not participate in any of the Syrian settlement talks.

At the moment Kurdish forces east of Euphrates are receiving support from the United States, but Washington has not expressed an unequivocal stance yet regarding the future of Kurdish territories where US military presence remains. West of the Euphrates the Turkish army is conducting an operation against Kurdish forces it regards as terrorist.

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