Russia persists PYD to be included at Syrian peace talks

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says militant group PYD should be included at Syrian peace talks

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, January 26, 2016.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday during his annual news conference that militant group PYD should take part in the United Nations-led Syrian peace talks.

Lavrov also said that it is impossible to reach a peace agreement in Geneva without PYD.

Russia's insistence of PYD being included in Syrian peace talks is heavily criticised by Turkey.

Turkey recognises PYD as a terrorist groups that is affiliated with the PKK, which is also recognised as a terrorist group by Turkey, United States, European Union and some other Western countries.

Russia hardened its politics against Turkey after a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 fighter jet was shot down by Turkish jets over an airspace violation in the region of the Turkmen mountain, which is located in northwestern Syria near Turkish border.

'Turkey is against PYD not Syrian Kurds'

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made a clarification on Monday in an interview stating that it was the PYD not the Syrian Kurds who should not be included in the Syrian peace talks.

Davutoglu said that they are not against Syrian Kurds but YPG which is the armed group of PYD.

"Without Syrian Kurds, the table cannot be complete. What we are against is YPG", Davutoglu said.

"Those who are recognizing them as a legitimate partner, they do not live in the reality of the region," said Davutoglu.

"Nobody can convince us that [PYD] is for peace."

Davutoglu stated firmly that the Syrian crisis would not be resolved with Bashar al Assad in power, adding that regime forces are "not winning."

On Russia's role in the conflict, Davutoglu said Russia was intervening "in a very negative manner, in fact it was occupying Syria."

Russia is a supporter of the Bashar al Assad regime, which is responsible for killing more than 250,000 people and displacing millions more.

As one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia, "like others can contribute to the peace process." he said.

"But we expect Russia to respect Syrian civilians and ... not to push Syrian civilians towards Turkish border."

He said 90 percent of Russian air strikes in Syria had so far targeted civilians and moderate opposition groups, as well as schools and hospitals.

"We know these, because all those who were injured by Russian bombardment are escaping to Turkey", he said. "Only 10 percent of Russian air strikes are against DAESH.”

Meanwhile Amnesty International report says air strikes conducted by Russia in support of Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths and damaged hospitals and homes.

Following "remote investigations" of 25 attacks between September 30 and November 29 , Russia - which claims its armed forces are only striking terrorist targets - seriously failed in "respect[ing] international humanitarian law" by causing at least 200 civilian casualties.  

Amnesty International has stated PYD is committing war crimes in northern Syria by forcing thousands of Kurdish and non-Kurdish civilians out of their homes and demolishing entire villages.

"Elsewhere, for example in Abdi Koy village, a small number of Kurdish residents have also been forcibly displaced by the YPG," the report read.

London-based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) also said last week PKK’s Syrian affiliate PYD has committed significant human rights violations in northern Syria, including "ethnic cleansing massacres" since the withdrawal of Syrian regime forces in 2012.

TRTWorld and agencies