The Kurds might not attend the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi because of the situation in Afrin, leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party Salih Muslim Muhammad told Izvestia. Farhad Patiev, Chairman of the Federal National-Cultural Autonomy of Kurds, expressed the same position. A high-ranking source in Russian diplomatic circles told the newspaper that Kurdish participation in the Sochi talks could stop the degradation of the situation.
The Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, scheduled for January 29-30, “aims at a peaceful settlement to the conflict in the country, but this is completely at odds with Turkey’s actions in Afrin,” Saleh Muslim told the newspaper.
“There is a war. We will defend ourselves. So far, we see no reason to participate in the Sochi negotiations. However, a final decision has not yet been made. Nevertheless, we are in constant contact with representatives from Russia, the United States, other large countries, as well as the UN and exchange information about what is happening in Afrin,” the politician told Izvestia.
A high-ranking Russian diplomatic source told Izvestia that Moscow would regret it if the Kurds refused to attend the congress. “It is not possible to resolve the Syrian crisis without them. We have put a lot of effort into ensuring their presence at this meeting,” the source said.
Since January 20, Turkey has been conducting a military operation dubbed Olive Branch in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled Afrin. Ankara inflicted massive airstrikes on various Kurdish areas, and on January 21, the first units of Turkish ground forces entered the territory of Syria.
Yuri Zinin, a leading researcher at the Center for Partnership of Civilizations at the Moscow-based MGIMO University, told the newspaper there might be another reason why the Kurds are not eager to attend the meeting. Participating in it as delegates from the federal region of Syria, they would de facto recognize the authority of Damascus. This, for them, would be equivalent to acknowledging their own defeat, the expert added.
Source : News Agencies