January 11, 2019 / 10:37 AM / 5 months ago

Russia says U.S. Syria pullout spurs need for Kurds and Damascus to talk

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of U.S. plans to withdraw its forces from Syria.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian government.

“In this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on particular significance. After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society,” said Zakharova.

She told the same briefing that Moscow had the impression that the United States wanted to stay in Syria despite U.S. President Donald Trump last month unexpectedly announcing a U.S. withdrawal.

Zakharova also said Russia remained committed to an agreement it had struck with Turkey to stabilise a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province, but said Moscow was worried by an increase in the number of ceasefire violations there.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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