Leaders from Syria’s Kurdish community on Wednesday held talks in Moscow with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov over the conflict in Syria. Bogdanov hosted the co-chair of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) Asya Abdullah and the head of the administration in the town of Kobani Anwar Muslim, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Turkey last week warned Russia and the United States against supplying arms and support for Syrian Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL). [AFP, 10/22/2015]

United States slams Assad’s welcome in Moscow; Kerry and Lavrov to meet in Vienna
The White House issued a remark on Russia’s “red carpet” welcome for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday, accusing Moscow of impeding progress towards a political transition by propping up the president. White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz told journalists the United States viewed “the red carpet welcome for Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, as at odds with the stated goal by the Russians for a political transition in Syria.” He added that Moscow’s actions in Syria were “counterproductive.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have agreed to meet in Vienna Friday along with their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss the Syria crisis, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced. According to Moscow, Lavrov proposed that a meeting of the Middle East Quartet (Russia, the United States, the European Union, and United Nations) be held the same day given the “extremely tense situation” in the Middle East. [AFP, AP, Syrian Observer, 10/22/2015]

US soldier killed freeing ISIS prisoners in Iraq
A US soldier was killed on Thursday morning as American and Kurdish commandos raided an ISIS outpost near the northern Iraqi town of Hawija, freeing prisoners and capturing some of the militants, Iraqi and American officials said. The commando became the first US soldier killed in action in Iraq since the withdrawal in 2011. US military officials declined to comment on the details of the classified operation, some of which remained unclear. But as described by Iraqi officials in the area, the mission appeared to be a significant joint strike against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, at a time when Iraqi and American officials are trying to mount a wider counteroffensive against the militants. [NYT, 10/22/2015]

Turkey’s top security body calls for designating Syrian PYD a terrorist organization
Late Wednesday, Turkey’s top national security body, The National Security Council (MGK), called on the international community to designate affiliations of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria as terrorist organizations. Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) a Syrian extension of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) organization. The call is made shortly after Ankara warned Russia and the United States of supplying arms and support for Syrian Kurdish forces fighting ISIS. In its bi-monthly meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, MGK vowed to fight against all organizations involved in “terrorist activities” aimed at “the nation’s will for living together.” [Hurriyet, Anadolu Agency, 10/22/2015]

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