Syrian Kurds Say Not Invited to Astana Talks
Syrian Kurds have not been invited to the talks on the political future of Syria due to take place this month in Kazakhstan, their representative in France said Tuesday.
"We are not invited to Astana. There appears to be a veto on our presence," Khaled Issa told AFP in Paris.
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), have been Western allies in the Syrian war but are hated by Turkey, which will co-host the Astana talks with Russia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the PYD a "terror group" for its links to Kurdish separatist militants in Turkey and has blasted the United States for working with the group on the ground in Syria.
Negotiations on Syria's future are scheduled to take place in the Kazakh capital in late January following the ceasefire negotiated by Russia on December 30, even though fighting has since flared up.
"It seems that only representatives of armed groups, and not political representatives (of the opposition) will be invited to negotiate with the Syrian regime in Astana," Issa said.
The political opposition will meet on Friday in the Saudi city of Riyadh to discuss the Astana process, diplomatic sources said.
"If there is no peaceful solution in Syria, the Kurds cannot be ignored," Issa said.
"I hope we will not be left out of an international solution."
In March, Syrian Kurds unilaterally proclaimed the creation of a federal region grouping the territories they control in northern Syria.
However a ground offensive by Turkey along the border in Syria in August put an end to Kurdish hopes of unifying the territories they control.
"We have a political project -- the democratic federalism for the whole of Syria. We are prepared to negotiate with the (Syrian) regime, providing we have international guarantees," Issa said.