On January 25, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced during a news briefing that Russia had invited 1,600 Syrian public figures to the Syrian National Dialogue Conference that’s set to be held in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
The United Nations, regional and international players were also invited by Russia to the upcoming Sochi conference as observers, according to Zakharova. The spokeswoman noted that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will participate in the conference.
Zakharova also revealed that representatives of the Syrian Kurds had been invited to Sochi conference, without clarifying if those “representatives” are from the US-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD) or other Syrian Kurdish parties.
“Invitations have been sent to representatives of the Kurds and now it is up to them to decide whether to accept the invitations and take an active part in the event,” Zakharova said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Later, Badran Jia Kurd, adviser to the PYD-led Democratic Federation of Northern Syria told Reuters that the federation didn’t received a formal invitation to the Sochi conference and stressed that the federation will not attend the confrence even if it is invited because of the Turkish attack on the Afrin area.
“Regarding our position on an invitation – if it happens – we will not attend the congress in the light of this barbaric, occupation aggression on Afrin… How can there be discussion of the solution at a time when stable, secure areas are pushed towards anarchy and battles?”, Jia Kurd said, according to Reuters.
The PYD-led federation was not invited likely due to pressure from Ankara that considers the PYD a branch to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), that’s recognized by Turkey as a terrorist group.
Different Syrian groups are expected to discuss the future presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria as well as the country’s new constitution during the Sochi conference that will likely be held for a day or two only, according to Russian officials.