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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

Syrian Kurdish-backed council holds talks in Damascus in first declared visit

The main Kurdish groups have emerged among the few winners of the conflict in Syria

Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gather at the al-Tanak oil field as they prepare to relaunch a military campaign against ISIS. AFP
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) gather at the al-Tanak oil field as they prepare to relaunch a military campaign against ISIS. AFP

The Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) is holding talks with Syrian government officials in Damascus this week, accompanied by representatives of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces militia, SDC co-chair Riad Darar said.

It marks the first declared SDC visit to Damascus.

The delegation is led by top Syrian Kurdish official Ilham Ahmed, added Darar, speaking by phone from Vienna on Friday.

Mr Darar said the talks were initially expected to focus on matters of service provision, but added: "I believe matters will develop to what is wider than that."

"There could be some political and some security meetings," he said.

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Syria's Kurds have been working to forge ties with Damascus as they seek to protect gains made in seven years of war, wary of its unpredictable US ally and more ready than ever to negotiate with President Bashar Al Assad.

The main Kurdish groups have emerged among the few winners of the conflict in Syria, carving out autonomous rule over large parts of the north under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

They have mostly avoided conflict with Assad, at times even fighting common foes - including rebels his forces are gradually crushing with help from Russia and Iran.

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