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'Syrian war will drag into next decade'

Published : Saturday, 13 January, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 69

BEIRUT, Jan 12 : A Russian-led effort to end the war in Syria will fail and the conflict looks set to extend into the next decade, a top Syrian Kurdish politician told Reuters in an interview.
Aldar Khalil, an architect of Kurdish-led plans for autonomous rule in northern Syria, also said the United States appears in "no hurry" to leave areas where it has helped Kurdish-led forces fight Islamic State, and that he expects ties with Washington to develop as U.S. recovery efforts proceed.
The Syrian Kurds are among the few winners in the almost seven-year-old war, having established control over large parts of the north with a powerful militia that has partnered with the U.S.-led coalition against IS.
Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's ally, has asked them to take part in an international peace conference on Syria for the first time -- a peace congress scheduled in the Russian city of Sochi on Jan. 29-30.
"Yes we are invited and we might take part in the show but it will not succeed," Khalil, co-chair of the Movement for a Democratic Society, a coalition of Syrian Kurdish parties, said by telephone.
He questioned what the hundreds of anticipated attendees could accomplish in two days and said more preparation was required.
U.N.-led diplomacy in Geneva was also set for more failure, he said, adding that the war would "ebb and flow" until at least 2021, the end of Assad's current seven-year presidential term.
"I don't expect any breakthrough in the Syrian situation before 2021 ... it might even go on until '25," he said.
"Daesh (IS) might expand in other areas, and of course the Turks might try to stir up problems in some areas."
The Syrian Kurds' ascendancy in Syria has alarmed neighbouring Turkey. Ankara views the dominant Syrian Kurdish groups as an extension of Kurdish parties in Turkey that have been fighting Ankara for more than three decades.    —REUTERS







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