Kurdish Militias, Assad Agree to Join Forces Against Turkey

20 February, 2018, 18:31 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Turkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area Syria from Turkish side of the border in Hatay Turkey Friday Feb. 9 2018

"The U.S. should stop playing very risky games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state", Lavrov said Monday at a Middle East conference in Moscow, alongside Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and a top adviser of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkey began its direct intervention in northern Syria in August 2016, backing Syrian rebel groups in a military offensive to push Islamic State from its border and to stop the YPG linking Afrin to the other areas it controls further east.

The agreement underscores the increasingly tangled situation in northern Syria, driven by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel groups, Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government views the YPG as an extension of the separatist Kurdish militia PKK, which Ankara classifies as a terrorist organization.

Jia Kurd said the agreement reached with Damascus was purely military and that no wider political arrangements had been made yet.

On Monday, however, Syrian state media claimed that pro-government militias would shortly enter the area as a warning to the Turkish army.

Turkey says the YPG is linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.

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Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are arriving to the northern region of Afrin to support the Kurdish People's Protection Units, YPG, against an ongoing Turkish military operation.

The Syrian government has given a degree of authority to the Kurdish regions to run their own affairs in the face of a foreign-backed militancy.

When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Ankara last week, the two sides agreed to work together in Syria and set up working groups on issues like Manbij where American troops are operating and which the US diplomat described as a "priority".

"There are different ways to get reinforcements to Afrin but the fundamental route is via regime forces". The Turkish officials detailed the call on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, and did not mention an agreement for government troops to enter Afrin. The YPG is part of the usa -backed Syrian Democratic Forces that has played a critical role in defeating Islamic State in several parts of Syria.

The Turkish army says 32 of its troops have been killed.

But a spokesman for the YPG denied agreeing on a deal with Damascus. The Syrian Civil Defence, volunteer first responders known as the White Helmets, said 30 people were killed in eastern Ghouta.

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