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Moscow says territory controlled by US should be handed over to Syrian gov’t

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Russia said on Friday territory previously controlled by the United States should be transferred to the Syrian government, Reuters reported.

Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that it was important for Syrian Kurds and the Syrian government to start talking to each other in light of US plans to withdraw its forces from Syria.

“In this regard, establishing dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus takes on particular significance. After all, the Kurds are an integral part of Syrian society,” said Zakharova.

She told the same briefing that Moscow had the impression that the United States wanted to stay in Syria despite US President Donald Trump last month unexpectedly announcing a withdrawal of American troops.

Zakharova also said Russia remained committed to an agreement it had struck with Turkey to stabilize a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province, but said Moscow was worried by an increase in the number of ceasefire violations there.

The Turkish government has been planning a military operation east of the Euphrates River, an area that is held by the US-backed Kurdish militia.

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