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Deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin: Syrian Kurdish official

19 February 2018

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.

Pro-government forces are set to enter the Syrian enclave of Afrin "within hours", state media reported Monday, after reportedly striking a deal with Kurdish militias in the region to help fend off a Turkish offensive in the region.

Turkey launched the Operation Olive Branch on January 20, 2018 in order to remove terrorist groups, including the PYD/PKK and Daesh, from NW Syria.

Sunday's deal underscores the increasingly tangled battlefield in northern Syria, driven by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russian Federation.

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When asked about the reported deal, YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud repeated an earlier statement that said the Syrian army had yet to respond to their calls to help protect Afrin.

The Syrian military and the YPG have largely avoided direct conflict in the Syrian war thus far but have had sporadic clashes.

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

However, he added that the alleged agreement - which he said did not include any political arrangements - could fall through.

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The report followed claims by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Syrian Kurdish forces and the Damascus government have reached an agreement for the Syrian army to enter the Afrin region.

A Turkish diplomatic source staunchly denied the claims, telling AFP that Turkey has "never used" chemical weapons in Syria and accusations that it had done so during its offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia are "baseless".

Syria's state news agency SANA, citing its correspondent in Aleppo, said that "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". They have seized a territory from Islamic State with a help of the U.S and their expansion of influence though Washington opposed their autonomy plans.

Meanwhile, YPG commander Sipan Hemo argued that the Syrian army should take most of the responsibility for the defense of Afrin against what he described as a Turkish invasion, calling on Damascus to "immediately send in reinforcements to the border region with Turkey".

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Deal for Syrian army to enter Afrin: Syrian Kurdish official