Assad Regime Announces Intervention to Help Kurds Fight Turkey in Afrin

by Antonio Miles February 20, 2018, 20:11
Assad Regime Announces Intervention to Help Kurds Fight Turkey in Afrin

"If it supports YPG, then no force can stop Turkey in clearing the terrorists", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. If they are entering [Afrin] to provide protection to the YPG, then no one can stop Turkey or Turkish soldiers.

Syrian Kurdish forces and the Damascus government have reached an agreement for the Syrian army to enter the Afrin region to help repel a Turkish offensive, a senior Kurdish official said on Sunday.

On January 20, Turkey launched an air and ground operation supporting Syrian rebels against the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region of northern Syria.

The pro-government troops appeared to largely consist of National Defense Forces (NDF) units, a paramilitary militia organized by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"Today, disintegration-seeking plots are being hatched and efforts are being made to settle puppet states in the region and we should make efforts in line with countering security threats through expanding comprehensive cooperation", Rouhani said.

But they denied on Monday that a deal had been reached for the regime to enter the enclave in force, though they did not deny that such an agreement might be in the works. Ankara considers them to be terrorist groups linked to an insurgency inside its own borders.

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

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The warning sets up a potential clash between Turkish troops and Syrian government forces backed by Russian Federation and Iran, whose deployment would be a first step toward restoring President Bashar Assad's presence along the border with Turkey.

SANA specified that Syrian forces in Afrin would serve to "strengthen the locals' resilience and resistance against the Turkish aggression which targets infrastructure, public and private properties, and economic and services establishments".

Speaking to reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey was determined to continue its military offensive in the Afrin enclave and has no plans to withdraw. A pro-government presence in Afrin could complicate Turkey's military operations there, which are now focused on Kurdish military targets.

Syrian state TV reported that rebels fired dozens of mortar rounds and rockets at Damascus, wounding eight people.

With estimates of total YPG fighters in Afrin totaling less than 10,000, the YPG appears to have agreed to some kind of Syrian regime deployment in the area.

This month the United States said it had killed hundreds of pro-government troops in strikes in eastern Syria because they were attacking the alliance of militias of which the YPG is a major part.

Russian Federation deployed military police in Afrin a year ago, but they pulled out last month before the Turkish offensive began.

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