US, Russia oppose Kurdish autonomy in Syria

GENEVA 28 August 2016 – Hurriyet – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both opposed an autonomus Kurdish region inside Syria, following a 12-hour meeting in Geneva on Aug. 26.While Lavrov said Kurds should be included in future Syria talks, Kerry said they did not support an independent Kurdish initiative. “We are for a united Syria. We do not support an independent Kurd initiative,” Kerry said after the meeting.  “There has been some limited engagement, as everybody knows, with a component of Kurd ish fighters on a limited basis, and we cooperated very closely with Turkey specifically to make sure that there was a clearer understanding of the rules by which that engagement would take place,” he added. “They understand that. Now that Manbij city has been liberated, I think there are other expectations of what will take place, but we understand the sensitivities of our friends in Turkey with respect to this,” Kerry stated.

The U.S. Secretary of State also referred to the recent visit of U.S. vice president Joe Biden to Ankara that angered Syrian Kurds for calling on the Kurdish forces to withdraw from Manbij, and supporting the Turkish operation in Jarablus.

“Vice President Biden just visited and had lengthy conversations about it, and we will continue to work together for inclusivity within Syria as we seek a political solution,” he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Kurds should fully participate in the political process as part of a united Syrian state.

“I’m convinced the Kurds should have a full-fledged representation in that process, should remain an integral part of the Syrian state and be part of a solution to the problem, rather than a factor that someone will be using to split Syria, as the latter will trigger a chain reaction throughout the region while no one is interested in it,” Lavrov said.

“As for various aspects of Turkish presence on the Syrian territory, including the Kurdish factor which is so much written about these days, our U.S. counterparts and we confirmed the importance of an emergency resumption and start of a political process where all the Syrian parties should participate,” he added.