Syrian Democratic Forces condemn their exclusion from Astana peace talks


SDF leaders speak to a press conference in Raqqa countryside. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Qamishli – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a main group fighting Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants in northern Syria, have been excluded from the Russian-led peace negotiations in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.

Starting on Jan. 23, the talks are supposed to bring parties to conflict in Syria to the table of negotiations.

“Despite all the victories we’ve achieved against ISIS terrorism in northern Syria, we have been excluded from the Astana talks,” the Kurdish-led SDF said in a statement on Sunday.

The SDF condemned the exclusion, saying it was a violation to their sacrifices in the fight against ISIS, stressing that they’ve “liberated key Syrian territories from terrorist groups”.

“Thus, any results coming out of these talks won’t be binding for the SDF factions,” the Syrian Democratic Forces said.

According to the Kurdish politician and PYD co-Chair Salih Muslim, excluding the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the Astana meeting was a mistake, limiting the talks’ scope and breadth.

Muslim told ARA News that “the SDF is one of the critical players,” whose endorsement would be required for any lasting agreement. He added that holding peace talks “without any participation from the SDF won’t lead to an actual solution.”

Negotiators at the Astana meeting aim to build on a nationwide ceasefire that has largely held despite incessant outbreaks of violence.

“One of our priorities is reaching a truce agreement in order to stop the bloodshed in Syria,” Muslim stated. “A ceasefire would be the main accomplishment, and we won’t aspire for more from the Astana talks.”

“Finding a solution for the Syrian crisis cannot come from Astana,” the Kurdish leader concluded. “The real Syrian political solution must come from power centers [in Syria].”

Reporting by: Ahmed Shiwesh | Source: ARA News

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