Syrian Forces to Enter Afrin within Hours: Report
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syrian popular forces will enter Afrin within hours upon calls from Kurdish authorities in the northern district to help defend them from a Turkish incursion there, a report said.
“Popular forces will arrive in Afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region,” according to the report carried by Syria’s official SANA news agency on Monday, citing its correspondent in Aleppo.
The deployment of Syrian forces comes after a senior Syrian Kurdish official said on Sunday that Kurdish forces and the Syrian government had reached a deal for the Syrian army to enter Afrin, and that it could be implemented within two days.
Kurdish officials had earlier called on the Syrian state to carry out its sovereign obligations towards Afrin and protect its borders with Turkey from attacks “of the Turkish occupier” and deploy its Syrian armed forces to secure the borders of the Afrin area.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday the United States was "discouraging the Kurds from dialogue" with the Syrian government and "fomenting separatist sentiment" among them.
Earlier this month, the US announced that it would work with militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force in Syria.
Turkey pounced on the announcement to launch a military incursion into Afrin last Friday with the purported aim of cleansing the areas near its southern borders of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants which are affiliated to SDF.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has described US-sponsored Kurdish armed elements as “traitors” to the nation but has also denounced Turkish incursions as an act of aggression.