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Turkey’s operation in Afrin to complicate inter-Syrian dialogue — expert

Developments are "a painful topic", Vladimir Shamanov said

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Turkey’s operation against Kurds in Afrin area in Syria may create certain complications for the forthcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, State Duma’s defense committee chairman Vladimir Shamanov told TASS.

On Saturday, Turkey’s General Staff declared the launch of Operation Olive Branch against Kurdish units from Self-Defense Forces and Democratic Union Party in Afrin, home to 1.5 million Syrian Kurds. Ankara says that these two groups are affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) recognized as terrorist in Turkey.

"This will introduce certain complications for the start of the inter-Syrian dialog in Sochi," the member of parliament said. Developments are "a painful topic," Shamanov said. "The [Syrian] government said they would perceive it as interference with domestic affairs," he noted. "That’s why I do not exclude that this may somehow influence on activities scheduled to January 29-30," the member of parliament added.

"It’s difficult to speak about this because it was an undesirable precedent on the verge of the planned congress for reconciliation of the parties in Syria," Shamanov said.

On December 22, Russia, Iran and Turkey, guarantor countries of the ceasefire in Syria, agreed at the Astana talks to convene the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi on January 29-30, 2018. The forum is expected to consider drafting a new Syrian constitution and holding UN-brokered elections on its basis.