Syrian Kurdish official: deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin

The Syrian government has reached an agreement with Kurdish forces in northwest Syria to officially enter and defend the Afrin region, Syrian Kurdish official said
Sunday, 18 February 2018 21:03

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 told Reuters on Sunday.

Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led administration in north Syria, said army troops will deploy along some border positions and could enter the Afrin region within the next two days.

Jia Kurd said the agreement that had been reached with Syrian government was purely military and that no wider political arrangements had been made yet, Reuters reported.

"When it comes to the political and administrative matters in the region, it will be agreed upon with Damascus in the later stages through direct negotiations and discussions," he said, as quoted by Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.

Turkish government last month launched military operation dubbed "Olive Branch" supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group with ground troops and air strikes in Syria's Afrin.

Jia Kurd added that there was opposition to the deal that could prevent it being implemented: "We don't know to what extent these understandings will last because there are sides that are not satisfied and want to make (the understandings) fail."

"We can cooperate with any side that lends us a helping hand in light of the barbaric crimes and the international silence," he said.

The Syrian government has allowed some Kurdish militants, civilians and politicians to reach Afrin through its territory, representatives of both sides have told Reuters in recent weeks.

Since the onset of Syrian war in 2011, the U.S.-backed YPG and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin bordering Turkey.