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Turkey’s problem with Syrian Kurds far from over

Ankara has accepted the Russian proposal to have Kurdish participation in Syrian national reconciliation while excluding the PYD, but the latter will remain the elephant in the room.
A member of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) mans a weapon mounted on a pick-up truck as others talk to each others along a street in the west of the city of Ras al-Ain, after capturing it from Islamist rebels November 5, 2013. Redur Xelil, spokesman for the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said Kurdish militias had seized the city of Ras al-Ain and all its surrounding villages. Syrian Kurdish fighters have captured more territory from Islamist rebels in northeastern

One concrete result from the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara on Dec. 11 seems to be Turkey’s acceptance of Kurdish participation in the Russian-sponsored Syrian National Dialogue Congress planned for early 2018.

But Turkey’s precondition remains the same — namely that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are excluded from this congress. Ankara says these are terrorist groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and refuses to participate in any effort to bring peace to Syria that includes them.

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