PYD must be included in Syria peace talks, says US spokesman

PYD must be included in Syria peace talks, says US spokesman
Screenshot from Reuters video of US spokesman Mark Toner.
7 days ago

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SULAIMANI – The Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD) must be included in Syria peace talks, the United States said on Tuesday (January 10).

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday that the PYD must be part of any Syrian peace talks as all Syrians, including the Kurds, must be included.

"This process has to include all Syrians, and that includes the Syrian Kurds," Toner said. “"At some point they have to be part of this process."

"Their voice will need to be heard in any kind of long term solution to the situation in Syria. And it's in that spirit that we say that if there's going to be a political process that leads to a political transition, a more democratic one, it's going to have to be accepted by all of the Syrian people."

The nationwide ceasefire had been thrashed out last month between pro-regime Russia and pro-opposition Turkey in an attempt to bring to an end nearly six-years of war in Syria.

The ceasefire agreement however did not include the Islamic State (ISIS) group, or the armed wing of the Kurdish PYD, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). There has been some confusion over whether a former al-Qaeda affiliate, previously known as the Nusra Front, is included in the ceasefire or not.

The United States has backed the Kurdish-led forces in their fight against Islamic State (ISIS), infuriating Turkey, which sees the PYD and YPG as an extension of Kurdish PKK fighters who have waged a three-decade insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey fears the PYD will try to connect three de facto autonomous Kurdish cantons that have emerged during the five-year war to create a Kurdish-run enclave in northern Syria, stoking the separatist ambitions of Kurds on its own soil.

Peace talks are set to begin in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on January 23.