A senior Russian official said Kurds should be included in the intra-Syrian peace talks that will resume in Geneva in September this year.
The Kurds need to be incorporated in the Syrian opposition delegation at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva as an important political and military force, as well as a part of the Syrian society, Russian Ambassador to the UN Office in Geneva Alexey Borodavkin said.
“Our position from the outset of these negotiations was that we want inclusive opposition delegations. Even now some prominent opposition leaders are not included in the delegation, and it is not normal. Kurds is a very striking example. They should be incorporated in the opposition delegation,” Borodavkin said.
Borodavkin stressed that the ethnic minority had a lawful right to be engaged in a decision-making process on Syria being an influential military force.
“First, they are Syrian citizens, they have a legitimate right to participate in decision-making on the future of Syria… Second, they are a political force… Third, they are very influential militarily, as you know, they are fighting now to liberate Raqqa,” Borodavkin added.
The statement comes amidst improvement in relations between Russia and Turkey. Turkey is opposed to any participation of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to the peace talks. As a result, the PYD was not invited to the peace talks the last few years. This while, the Barzani-backed Kurdish National Council (KNC), which is part of the Syrian opposition delegation, did participate in the talks.
Last week, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that Syrian Kurds should not be ignored in the ongoing peace talks and efforts to find a solution to the 6-year-old crisis in Syria. The UN Special Envoy stressed that Kurdish representatives “must be allowed to take part in drafting Syria’s new constitution.”