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Syria: Turkey accuses Moscow and Damascus of jeopardising Geneva talks


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Syria: Turkey accuses Moscow and Damascus of jeopardising Geneva talks

  • Turkish PM blames Russia and Damascus for jeopardising Syria talks
  • Backs call for exclusions
  • Talks will not be significantly delayed – Kerry

The news

The Turkish Prime Minister has blamed Damascus and Moscow for delaying peace talks on Syria planned for Geneva next week.

Ahmet Davutoglu has backed calls to exclude militant organisations like the Kurdish YPG militia on the opposition side.

The Syrian Opposition Council is refusing to attend if a third party takes part.

Davotoglu told an audience in Davos that Damascus and Moscow are to blame.

“We are supporting moderate opposition forces in Syria who are fighting against Daesh positions, especially in the last two weeks, close to our border. Meanwhile, Syrian regime and Russian airplanes are attacking the moderate opposition. They are putting some other elements in the opposition side, like the YPG, which has been collaborating with the regime and attacking the moderate opposition.”

“Turkey will be supporting any initiative for a political solution in Syria. The only thing we want is that the moderate opposition should be represented by their own will and initiative. No terrorist groups should be represented around the table,” Davotoglu said.

“If others want to be at the table, they can be on the side of the regime.”

The context

Turkey is concerned about the growing influence of the YPG across the border in Syria.

Analysts say Ankara fears expansion could further nourish Kurdish rebellion on its own territory.

It does not want to see territorial gains by the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria.

The group is fighting Islamic State (IS) but Ankara believes it is closely tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has fought a three-decade insurgency for greater autonomy in Turkey.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Will the talks be delayed?

The UN says it will not issue invitations to the talks until the major powers agree on which opposition representatives should attend.

UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura says the talks may be delayed but major powers must keep up the pressure to bring participants to the table.

The US Secretary of State has played down reports of the Geneva talks being seriously delayed.

Speaking in Davos, John Kerry said any delay would only be a matter of days.

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