Russia-backed separatists in the Donbas region, in Eastern Ukraine, are in talks to host a Syrian Kurdish embassy in Donetsk.
A Syrian Kurdish mission has already opened on 10 February in Moscow, a move that would anger Turkey which sees the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union (PYD) as a terrorist group. The office will campaign for the rights of some 250,000 Kurds who currently live in Russia, as well as those living in Syria.
Turkey suspects Russia, which launched air strikes in Syria three weeks ago, to lend support to the PYD and its armed wing People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara has warned Moscow it would not tolerate Kurdish territorial gains close to its frontiers in north-western Syria.
On Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish PYD party rejected Turkish demands that allied militia withdraw from positions near the border that are being shelled by Turkish army, and warned that Syrians would resist any Turkish intervention in the country.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday demanded the PYD withdraw from areas north of Aleppo he said had been captured by the Kurdish group. Asked if he rejected that demand, Muslim said: “Of course”.
Turkey on Saturday demanded the YPG militia withdraw from areas that it had captured in the northern Aleppo region in recent days from insurgents in Syria, including the Menagh air base. The Turkish shelling has targeted those areas.
Turkey has been alarmed by the expansion of Kurdish sway in northern Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011. The YPG controls nearly all of Syria’s northern frontier with Turkey, and has been a close ally of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State in Syria.
Ankara views the group as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade-old insurgency for autonomy in southeast Turkey.
According to Gazeta.ru, Putin had the idea of allowing Syrian Kurds to open missions in Russia after relations between Moscow and Ankara became tense following due to their conflicting interests in Syria and to the downing of Russian fighter jet by Turkey.
(with AP, Reuters, Tass)