Syrian Kurdish Group to Open Mission in Russia

Syrian Kurdish Group to Open  Mission in RussiaSyrian Kurdish Group to Open  Mission in Russia

The Syrian pro-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) plans to open a diplomatic mission in Russia, a move that would anger Turkey due to its classification of the party as a terrorist group, Russia’s Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Leaders of the Kurdish group will hold consultations with the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday, Kommersant said, including talks about further steps toward the opening of a Russian office, Reuters reported.

The purpose of the mission would be to strengthen cooperation with Moscow in fighting the Islamic State, the newspaper said.

Turkey suspects that Russia, which launched airstrikes in Syria three weeks ago, has been lending support to PYD and its armed wing the People’s Protection Units. Ankara has warned Moscow that it will not tolerate further Kurdish territorial gains close to its border with northwestern Syria.

Kommersant quoted a Turkish diplomatic source as saying the opening of a mission by the PYD would provoke a strong reaction from Ankara, with which Moscow already has strained relations over Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 45 people including a militant commander in an insurgent-held area of Latakia province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based Observatory, said the airstrikes on Monday evening targeted the Jabal al-Akrad area of the coastal province.

He identified the militant commander as chief of staff of the First Coastal Division group, a foreign-backed faction fighting under the banner of “Free Syrian Army”.