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Kurds, Damascus seek to secure Russia’s help in building dialogue, says Lavrov

According to the top diplomat, Damascus and Ankara also need to build contacts and Moscow is geared to mediate
Syrian Kurdish fighters Ugur Can/DHA via AP
Syrian Kurdish fighters
© Ugur Can/DHA via AP

MOSCOW, October 21. /TASS/. The Syrian government and the Kurds would like Russia to help them build dialogue, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Monday.

"We have taken a position that we believe to be the most appropriate under the current circumstances," he noted. "The goal is to create a situation where all Kurdish organizations in Syria are woven into the country’s legal framework and constitution, so that there are no illegal armed units in Syria and no threat comes from Syria to the security of Turkey or any other country," Lavrov explained.

"In order to achieve this goal — and we believe that it is the only right way to resolve the situation — there is a need for dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus, and we are ready to facilitate such a dialogue in every possible way. Both parties have expressed interest in securing Russia’s assistance in the matter," the top diplomat pointed out.

According to Lavrov, Damascus and Ankara also need to build contacts and Moscow is ready "to play a supportive role and promote dialogue."

The foreign minister also pledged that Russia was ready to back the decision on amending the 1998 Adana Pact on the border regime between Turkey and Syria if the sides endorsed that move.

"It’s obvious that dialogue between Ankara and Damascus should rely on the 1998 Adana Pact, this is an international and legal basis, which was most recently confirmed by both sides, including in the context of the current events," Russia’s top diplomat stated.

"If during the contacts the sides believe it is necessary and mutually acceptable to somehow specify or amend this deal, this will be their decision. We will certainly back and support it," Lavrov stressed.

On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out. Erdogan’s military campaign kicked off with airstrikes on the positions of the previously US-backed Kurdish units. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as an act of aggression, while the international community condemned Erdogan’s military operation.

On October 17, the United States, represented by Vice President Mike Pence, reached a deal with Erdogan to pause Operation Peace Spring. Turkey consented to a 120-hour ceasefire so that Kurdish units making up the coalition of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could leave the areas of the border security zone that Ankara is attempting to create.