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Turkey Says Kurdish YPG Should Not Be Involved in Syria Talks

FILE - A man holds a flag of the YPG, a Syria-based Kurdish militant group, during a protest against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in front of the Brookings Institution in Washington, where Erdogan was speaking, March 31, 2016.

Turkey would welcome the United States at Syrian peace talks planned in Astana, Kazakhstan, but the Kurdish YPG militia should not be involved, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

"From the start, we have told Russia that a terrorist organization like the YPG should not be in Astana," Cavusoglu told reporters in the southern city of Alanya, in comments broadcast live on television.

"If the PYD/YPG lays down arms and starts supporting Syrian territorial integrity, they can be included within the framework of a comprehensive solution," he said.

A Russian- and Turkish-backed cease-fire went into effect in Syria at midnight, meant as a first step toward peace talks to be hosted by Russia's ally Kazakhstan.