DUSHANBE, February 11, 2016, Asia-Plus – According to international media outlets, Syrian Kurds opened a mission in Moscow on Wednesday. 

According to The Telegraph , the representative office in an industrial district of eastern Moscow is the first of several foreign missions the Rojava Self Ruled Administration, the self-proclaimed government of Kurdish-held northern Syria, plans to establish in Europe.

“This is a historic moment for the Kurdish people politically and diplomatically,” said Sinam Mohammad, the European Representative of the Rojava Self-Ruled Democratic Administration, the de-facto government running Kurdish-held northern Syria.  “For too long we have been unable to represent our interests on the world stage. This will allow us to have a voice abroad.”

Two other offices, in Berlin and Paris, are due to open in the coming months, she said.

Meanwhile, Russian media sources report that the Moscow representative office is not formally recognized as a diplomatic mission by the Russian foreign ministry, and will officially operate as an NGO in order to conform with Russian law.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry earlier told TASS the opening of the Kurds’ representative office is not envisaged by the Russian legislation.  Their interests are advocated by the diplomats from the embassies of Syria and Iraq.

TASS reports some 250,000 Kurds, the largest ethnic minority in Syria, currently live in Russia.

Russian media outlets quoted the chairman of the Council of the Federal National-Cultural Kurdish Autonomy Farhat Patiyev as saying last Friday, “This will be a representative office of the NGO that has no functions of an embassy.”

The representative office will advocate the interests of Kurds who live in Russia and Syria, he said, adding that many of them are not Syrian citizens.

However, the Kremlin’s decision to allow it to open at all will further stoke tensions with Turkey. Moscow’s relationship with Ankara was plunged into crisis following the shoot down of a Russian warplane on the Syrian Turkish border in November.

The new office is closely tied to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which exercises de-facto control over a large swathe of northern Syria and wants to maintain that autonomy within whatever post-war settlement emerges at the end of the civil war, The Telegraph reports .

Turkey, which considers the PYD a branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), vetoed Kurdish participation in peace talks in Geneva earlier this month. The PKK is officially proscribed as a terrorist group in the United States and Britain.