QAMISHLI: The political arm of a powerful alliance of Syrian Kurd and Arab fighters announced Sunday it was ready for unconditional peace talks with the central government in Damascus. The Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) is linked to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed militia that holds much of the country's north and east. Those areas are outside regime control, and most are managed by autonomous Kurdish-run administrations that the regime sees as a challenge to its authority. In a statement on Sunday, the SDC said it was committed to resolving Syria's deadly conflict through dialogue, and would not "hesitate to agree to unconditional talks". "It is positive to see comments about a summit for Syrians, to pave the way to start a new page," it said. Leading SDC member Hekmat Habib told AFP that both the council and the SDF "are serious about opening the door to dialogue" with the government. "With the SDF's control of 30% of Syria, and the regime's control of swathes of the … [Read more...] about Kurd-Arab council ready for ‘unconditional talks’ with Syria regime
Syrian peace talks
World Russia, Turkey and Iran will hold the next round of their Syrian peace talks in July in the Russian city of Sochi, not in the Kazakh capital Astana like their previous meetings, the three countries said on Tuesday. 15 May 2018 10:40PM Bookmark ASTANA: Russia, Turkey and Iran will hold the next round of their Syrian peace talks in July in the Russian city of Sochi, not in the Kazakh capital Astana like their previous meetings, the three countries said on Tuesday.The Syrian rebels said they would boycott the talks due to Russia's role as host. Since they began last year, the trilateral meetings have taken place in Kazakhstan, which is not involved in the Syrian war - unlike Russia which backs President Bashar Assad and has helped him turn the tide of war by deploying its own troops.The July meeting announcement came from the latest round of Astana talks. The reason for the change in location for the next talks was unclear."We understand that this looks rather strange, … [Read more...] about Russia to host Syria peace talks in July
MOSCOW: Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministers on Saturday (Apr 28) talked up their successes in brokering a political solution to the Syrian conflict at a meeting in Moscow.The three nations have been attempting to resolve the Syrian conflict at talks that started last year in Astana, Kazakhstan, in competition with a US and UN-backed Geneva initiative.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the three countries "must help the Syrians finish cleansing their country of terrorists."The ministers emphasised the success of their peace talks in Astana, which Lavrov said are "firmly standing on their feet."The Russian diplomat praised the "unique" alliance between two of Syrian President Bashar-al Assad's key supporters, Moscow and Tehran, and rebel-backer Ankara."Thanks to it, it became possible to tackle the situation on the battlefield with the Islamic State group and the Al-Nusra Front," he said, as jihadists have lost most of the territory they controlled in Syria.The … [Read more...] about Russia, Turkey, Iran stress unity at Syria talks
BRUSSELS: The European Union and the United Nations on Tuesday called for swift political talks to end the long war in Syria, saying the latest territorial gains by Damascus and its allies had not brought peace any closer.The U.N special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, spoke at an international donor conference hosted by the European Union in Brussels, which will seek more than US$6 billion in aid for the country."We're seeing in last few weeks, days ... that military gains, territorial gains and military escalation do not bring a political solution, has not brought any change. On the contrary," he told a joint news conference with the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini.Mogherini also spoke of the need to "return to the political process under the U.N. auspices ... to start real, meaningful political negotiations that are clearly the only way forward for the country."The proxy war, pitting Damascus, Russia and Iran against rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar … [Read more...] about UN and EU use Syria donors’ conference to demand return to peace talks
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an angry man at the best of times, but on Monday he outdid himself: "This is what we have to say to all our allies: Don't get in between us and terrorist organisations, or we will not be responsible for the unwanted consequences." That was a barely veiled threat that he will use force against American troops if they try to stop him from attacking the Syrian Kurds. The iron law of politics in the Middle East is that everybody betrays the Kurds. It was on display again in Iraq last October when the Baghdad government seized almost half the territory ruled by the Kurdistan Regional Government.In obedience to that unwritten law, nobody else objected -- including the US, even though it had armed the Iraqi Kurds to fight the Islamic State (ISIS). But now the US government has effectively told the Syrian Kurds that they can keep the huge chunk of Syria they control for the indefinite future. And the Turkish government, predictably, has gone … [Read more...] about Will the US betray the Syrian Kurds?