Syrian deputy FM optimistic on talks with Kurdish groups

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has expressed optimism over dialogue with Kurdish groups that want to strike a political deal with Damascus, suggesting progress had been made in contacts mediated by Russia. Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria have revived contacts with Damascus in the wake of the US decision to withdraw troops from their region. The groups are keen to stave off any Turkish attack. Mekdad’s comments were the first on the talks with the Kurds, who are calling on Damascus to deploy troops at the border with Turkey. “The past experiences were not encouraging. But now matters are reaching their conclusion,” Reuters quoted Mekdad as saying on Wednesday. He signaled approval of recent statements by Kurdish groups affirming they are part of the Syrian state and nation, saying “the conditions” were favorable for them to return to the state. Mekdad said he was certain all “foreign forces” would withdraw from Syria.