First Published: 2017-11-23

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’
Turkey’s reluctance to let Kurdish militias participate in Syria political process will not stop Moscow from going ahead with peace congress.
Middle East Online

Moscow, Ankara and Tehran are cooperating with increasing intensity on ending civil war

SOCHI - The Kremlin said Thursday Turkey's opposition to the participation of Kurdish militias in Syria's political process would not stand in the way of a peace "congress" Moscow is seeking to organise in the near future.

"We know that there are certain reservations on the part of our Turkish partners with regards to the forces they believe pose a threat to their national security," Peskov told reporters at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"But this does not mean that work will not be conducted. Intense expert work to agree and check the lists (of congress participants) lies ahead."

He said the congress would be convened "in the near future" but did not provide more details.

On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin hosted the leaders of Iran and Turkey for a key trilateral summit aimed at finding a political settlement of Syria's six-year civil war.

The trio sought to show a united front, saying they hoped a Moscow-championed "congress" would bring together Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad's forces and various opposition groups and reinvigorate a hobbled peace process.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to fume at the prospect of inviting the Kurdish group PYD and its armed wing, the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) fighting in Syria to take part in the peace conference.

Without referring to the Kurdish militias by name, Erdogan said at the Sochi summit: "We cannot consider a terrorist gang with blood on their hands a legitimate actor."

"The exclusion of terrorist elements that threaten Syria's political unity and territorial integrity, as well as our national security, will continue to be a priority for Turkey," Erdogan said.

Moscow, Ankara and Tehran are cooperating with increasing intensity on ending the civil war, even though Turkey backs the rebels, at odds with Russia and Iran.


Erdogan urges world to recognise Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

Saudi, UAE seeks to help West Africa fight terrorism

US skeptical about Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

Saudi King says determined to confront corruption

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

Israel intelligence minister invites Saudi prince to visit

Saudi-led strikes kill 30 in rebel-run Yemen prison

Saudi king says Palestinians have 'right' to Jerusalem

South Sudan needs $1.7 billion humanitarian aid in 2018

UAE oil giant floats 10 percent of retail arm to strong interest

Growing concern about rise of far-right in Austria

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church

Erdogan risks sabotaging fragile relations with Israel

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

Two Gazans killed by Israeli ‘strike’, Israel denies claim

French FM accuses Iran of carving out ‘axis’ of influence

Somali journalist killed in front of children

Over 170 dead after South Sudan rival cattle herders clash

Russia begins partial withdrawal from Syria

Russia weary of returning IS jihadists before World Cup, election

EU accused of complicity in Libya migrant rights violations

Pentagon skeptical about Russia's Syria pullout claims

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile