Syrian Kurds say Russia has promised they can attend Sochi talks

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (L) speaks with Russia's chief negotiator for Syria, Aleksandr Lavrentyev (R), during the session of Syria peace talks in Astana on Dec. 22, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 27 December 2017

Syrian Kurds say Russia has promised they can attend Sochi talks

BEIRUT: Russia has promised that the autonomous region controlled by Kurds in northern Syria will be represented at peace talks it is hosting next month, the commander of the main Syrian Kurdish militia was cited as saying on Wednesday.
Moscow has said 155 representatives of the autonomous region will participate, Sipan Hemo, the commander of the YPG, was quoted as saying by official Syrian Kurdish social media channels on Wednesday.
Kurdish groups have not taken part in any round of Syrian peace talks so far despite their control of more than a quarter of Syria. Turkey opposes their involvement in talks.
Moscow backs Syrian President Bashar Assad in Syria’s six-year-old civil war while Turkey opposes him.
But Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group affiliated to the Kurdish PKK, which has waged an insurgency in Turkey for decades.
Russia, Iran and Turkey announced the Jan. 29-30 dates for the talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi date after a round of peace talks in Kazakhstan last week, but did not say who would participate.
About 40 Syrian rebel groups, including factions that have taken part in other rounds of peace talks, said on Monday they would refuse to attend the Sochi Congress.
Russia is the most powerful supporter of Assad. Its jets have helped him bring the rebellion against his rule near to an end.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has said that the success of the congress should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the UN-led Geneva talks on ending the war.


UAE to resume transit flights at its airports

Updated 04 June 2020

UAE to resume transit flights at its airports

DUBAI: The government of the United Arab Emirates said on Thursday the Gulf state would resume transit flights after suspending them in March.
The government did not say exactly when transit flights would resume in its announcement on Twitter.