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Ocalan Urges Kurds to Hold Dialogue with Damascus

Ocalan Urges Kurds to Hold Dialogue with Damascus

Tuesday, 7 May, 2019 - 05:30
The leader of the PKK urges the Kurds in Syria against conflict with Damascus. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
The jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) urged on Monday the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to hold negotiations with Damascus to reach a political solution to their pending disputes.

Abdullah Ocalan issued a rare statement calling on the SDF to resolve problems in Syria without conflict.

The statement from Ocalan, and three other senior PKK members, was read by lawyers who said they were allowed to meet him in a Turkish prison on Thursday for the first time since 2011.

“We believe that, within the scope of the SDF, problems in Syria should be aimed to be solved by staying away from a culture of conflict, with constitutional assurances given within the framework of Syria’s territorial integrity,” it said, according to Reuters.

It also said Turkish sensitivities should be taken into consideration in any work toward a solution in Syria.

It was not clear what specific potential conflict Ocalan was advising the SDF to avoid in Syria’s eight-year war, but he could have been referring to Turkish or Syrian regime forces.

Ocalan is the founder and leader of the outlawed PKK, which has waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey since the mid-1980s.

Ankara says Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters spearheading the SDF are part of the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union. Turkey has waged two military incursions in northern Syria against the YPG.

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