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Russian envoy: Kurds should be included in Syria talks

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Syrian Kurds should be included in talks on the political future of Syria, the Russian special envoy for Syria said on Thursday, Sputnik Turkish service reported.

Alexander Lavrentiev held a press conference in the Kazakh capital of Astana after the 11th round of Astana meetings on Syria.

He highlighted that Kurds comprise 9 to 10 percent of the Syrian population but said those who live in areas controlled by the US are not part of the talks.

“Of course we are in favor of the participation of each group in Syrian society in the constitution committee and in every mechanism that will conduct studies for reform of the Syrian political system,” Lavrentiev said, adding that there were Kurds on the committee from other parts of the country but that the northeast of the country has not been represented in the talks so far “for understandable reasons.”

The Russian diplomat also stressed that Ankara was concerned about the influence of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria as it deems the YPG an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.

The YPG has been part of a US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Ankara has repeatedly raised its concerns about the YPG with its NATO ally.

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