The US-held areas in northeastern Syria should be transferred to the Damascus government, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters on January 11.
Zakharova added that such move would “neutralize” the security threats to Syria’s neighbors, in a clear hint to Turkey that is planning to attack Kurdish forces controlling the northeastern part of the war-torn country.
“In this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on particular significance. After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society,” the Reuters news agency quoted Zakharova as saying.
These remarks came only hours after the U.S. announced the beginning of what its coalition against ISIS called it a “deliberate withdrawal” from Syria. The first group of U.S. service members has already left the country, according to local sources.
U.S. allies in northeastern Syria are indeed negotiating with the Damascus government to reach an agreement that would fill the gap left behind by the withdrawal of U.S. forces and deter Turkey. However, Washington is clearly trying to undermine these efforts by engaging in direct talks with Ankara, which is hoping to invade northeastern Syria once American troops leave.