ANKARA -- Since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey in November 2015, Turkey has been scrambling to reconcile with Russia, but disagreements over the role of Syrian Kurds are now threatening a fresh deadlock. Despite the close dialogue between the two countries' presidents, the rift over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), seems to be deepening.
Last week, Russia invited 33 groups, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Baath Party, to a Syrian Congress on National Dialogue in Sochi on Nov. 18. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Nov. 3 that the initiative was an important step toward implementing UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and that invitations had been sent to all opposition groups, including those outside Syria.
Resolution 2254, adopted in December 2015, called for a cease-fire and talks on a political transition between the Syrian government and the opposition, excluding groups seen as terrorists such as the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra). It said the political transition should be Syrian-led and called for "free and fair elections" under UN supervision.
Read the full story here.